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Five Risks for Teen Drivers

Teen Driver risks

Five of the greatest dangers for teen drivers to contend with are: driving impaired, not using a seat belt, distracted driving, speeding and driving with passengers in the vehicle. What do you see wrong in the picture above?

According to a fact sheet from Traffic Safety Marketing,

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15-18 years old in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
  • In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver ages 15-18 years old, of which 755 deaths were the teen driver — a 3% decrease from 2016.

Teen drivers should be educated and aware of the risks associated with:

  • Driving under the influence. This means under the influence of alcohol and other illegal, prescription or over-the-counter medicines. All of these substances can slow a driver’s reaction time and have serious consequences.
  • Seat belt usage. In 2017, there were 539 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and more than half of those passengers who died were not buckled up at the time of the crash. Teen drivers and passengers need to understand that seat belt usage can save their lives; it should be one of the first things they do when getting into a vehicle.
  • Distracted driving. What teens need to understand is that distractions DO include their phone devices (email, texting, talking) but also includes much more. Many teen drivers are talking with passengers, applying makeup or brushing their hair, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio and other controls and more as they are driving. Anything that takes the mind, hands and eyes off of driving can distract any driver, especially a young, inexperienced driver.
  • Passengers in the vehicle. Studies show that a teen’s chances of getting into an accident increase with each additional teenage passenger in the car. In fact, a single teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by 44%.
  • Speeding. In 2017, more than one-quarter of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.

Source: 2019 National Teen Driver Safety Week. Fact Sheet/Talking Points.


Follow the Rules of the Road

  • Don’t drive impaired. Remind teens that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal and that being under the influence of any drug while driving can be deadly for them and their friends.
  • Buckle up. Just remember to do this every trip, every time whether you are the driver or passenger. Don’t put the car in drive until all belts are buckled.
  • Eyes on the road. Hands on the Wheel. Limit the distractions while driving. If it is too tempting, put the phone in the glove box or somewhere out of reach.
  • Know how many passengers you can legally have in the car. Most states now have restrictions limiting the number of passengers newly licensed teens may drive as part of Graduated Driver Licensing programs.
  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Drive defensively. Pay attention to other drivers on the road who may not be driving in a safe manner.

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