Five Risks for Teen Drivers
Five of the greatest driving 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 Traffic Safety Marketing,
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15-18 years old in the United States.
- In 2019, there were 2,042 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 628 deaths were the teen driver.
Educate Teen Drivers About Risks
- Driving under the influence. 19% of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 had alcohol in their system. Teens should know that “under the influence” can mean 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 2020, almost half (52%) of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in crashes were unbuckled. Make sure teen drivers and passengers 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. Teach teens that while distractions DO include their phone devices (email, texting, talking), it 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.
- Speeding. In 2020, almost one-third (31%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
Source: 2022 National Teen Driver Safety Week. Fact Sheet/Talking Points.
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6 Rules of the Road to Follow
- 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.
- No distractions. Eyes on the road. Hands on the Wheel. Limit the distractions while driving. In fact, never text, dial or use mobile phone apps while driving. If it is too tempting, put the phone in the glove box or somewhere out of reach. Fully focus on driving.
- No speeding. Faster speeds take the extra reaction time away that inexperienced drivers may need to avoid a crash.
- Limit extra passengers. Know how many passengers you can legally have in the car, but also know that with each passenger in the vehicle, the risk of a deadly crash goes up. Most states now have restrictions limiting the number of passengers newly licensed teens may drive as part of Graduated Driver Licensing programs.
- Drowsy driving. Getting the right amount of sleep is important for every driver, especially for inexperienced teen drivers. Remind them of the dangers of drowsy driving.
Source: Parents, Talk to Your Teen Driver About Safe Driving
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 22, 2019. It was reviewed on September 9, 2022 and updated for content and accuracy. It was re-published on September 10, 2022.