Teenage drivers remain the demographic group with the highest crash rate of any other age group. Teenager drivers are three times as likely as people age 20 and up to get into a deadly car crash. Insurance.com also reports the number one cause of death for teens in the United States is motor vehicle accidents. Far too many of these car crashes occur because teen drivers make unsafe choices which put themselves, their passengers, and every other motorist on the road in danger.
Tips for the Prevention of Teen Motor Vehicle accidents
There are ways to try to bring down the death rate and prevent teen car crashes from happening, but both teenagers and their parents need to do their part to try to keep the roads safe. One of the biggest issues for teen drivers is distraction, which is actually significantly under-reported.
Official estimates of teen crashes caused by distracted drivers suggest around 14 percent of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers occur due to distraction. This estimate is based on police reports from crash scenes. AAA Traffic Foundation, however, conducted different research to try to find out what the role of distraction was. Approximately 1,700 videos of teen crashes were reviewed to determine what happened in the six seconds leading up to the accident. This research found closer to 58 percent of the crashes involving teen drivers happened because of distraction.
There were lots of different kinds of distracting behaviors occurring, and if teens are aware of some of the biggest things taking their focus off the road and they make a commitment to pay more careful attention and avoid these distractions, a significant number of crashes could be prevented and a significant number of lives should be saved. The things teens should avoid doing include:
- Passenger interaction, as talking to or otherwise interacting with passengers caused 15 percent of accidents. Teens shouldn't have passengers with them in the car under most circumstances.
- Using cell phones, as phone use was the distracting factor in 12 percent of collisions.
- Looking at inappropriate things inside or outside of the car. Ten percent of crashes were caused by teens looking at things outside the car and nine percent of crashes were caused by teen drivers looking at things in the vehicle. Teens should look at the road, the cars around them, and other essential things they need to see to drive safely- not at random objects.
- Dancing or singing to music, as eight percent of teen crashes happen when young drivers are paying too much attention to music in vehicles.
- Grooming, as six percent of collisions involved young people fixing their appearance.
- Reaching for objects, which also caused six percent of crashes.
Teenagers should commit to staying focused at all times. Parents can also play a key role in reducing teen crashes by setting a good example for their kids, by not driving distracted themselves, and by setting clear rules for kids so they ensure their children are not engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.