Why Teen Drivers Remain a Danger to Themselves and Others

by Jonathan Rosenfeld on Dec. 16, 2019

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury  Personal Injury Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death 

Summary: Parents need to exercise caution before handing their teen the keys to the family car as accident rates for teen drivers remain as high as ever.

Sadly, vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of deaths among teenagers. Statistics maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that a driver’s accident risk remains at its highest in the first year that a teenager drives.

The Benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

Fortunately, the number of teenage traffic death has declined significantly (62%) over the last 45 years. The decrease in the number of fatalities correlates with graduated drivers licensing laws enacted in many states.

Restricting the teenager’s access to a car, truck, or motorcycle after getting their license has proved to be beneficial. Limiting the young motorist’s unsupervised driving can help establish good driving habits and experiences while maintaining a vehicle in a controlled environment.

Many of these laws restrict night driving and limit the number of passengers the teenager can have in the vehicle while driving. In time, through the graduated system, the young driver can obtain a full driver’s license.

Parents do not need to rely on the laws of their state to restrict their child’s driving privileges. The family can develop a contract that permits the teenager to gain much-needed experience to obtain their driving freedom. Setting limitations and obtaining better education and experience can make the teenager feel significantly more comfortable when driving.

The Biggest Risks Teenage Drivers Face

The general risks, associated with bad teenage driving, continue to be a leading factor in teen-related car crashes. These general risks include:

Inexperience

A lack of experience, due to a limited number of hours operating a vehicle, accounts for the highest number of accidents involving teenagers. In addition to receiving quality driver’s education, teenage motorists must receive adequate instruction and training.

Parents and experienced motorists should spend significant time talking and riding with teenage drivers to help them establish competent driving habits. Good motorists are those who have developed and practice safe driving techniques. These habits include establishing a focus on remaining highly attentive when traveling.

The teenager must develop good safety practices. These practices can include not playing the radio at a high volume, ensuring passengers never distract the driver with physical contact or talk, and limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle.

Distracted Driving

Teenagers today are far more likely to become distracted while driving, compared to when their parents and grandparents were first learning to drive. Access to mobile devices, in-dash monitors, and other devices can cause a persistent distraction while driving. Distracted driving remains the leading factor of all traffic accidents involving fatalities and significant injuries.

Driving Fatigued

Distracted driving is often the result of operating the vehicle for an extended amount of time without rest, taking medications, consuming alcohol, or not getting enough rest before driving. Many teenagers fall asleep or doze off behind the wheel due to various reasons, including studying into late-night hours before heading home or driving long distances during Spring break.

Many teenagers have a lack of understanding of how to estimate how easily and quickly they can become drowsy and fall asleep while operating the vehicle. This failure can leave them, other drivers, and passengers at serious risk for injury or death.

Reckless Driving

A lack of experience and immaturity can cause the teenager to take unnecessary risks. Statistics show that teenagers are more likely to take risks, speed, or perform some other reckless action that could contribute to a serious, and at times, deadly vehicle accident.

Engaging in inappropriate and reckless behavior could lead to avoidable consequences and change the course of their life, and the lives of others.

Impaired Driving

Taking illicit substances and consuming alcohol remains one of the leading factors of dangerous teenage driving. Many teens make unhealthy choices to break the law and drive under the influence, placing themselves and others at considerable risk. This one decision can pose a significant danger to the teen and everyone else sharing the road.

Many states have improved the driving statistics of teen motorists using a graduated driving license system. Even so, the rate of young drivers involved in traffic crashes with injuries and fatalities has risen significantly in recent years.

Today’s young drivers must quickly learn to manage a significantly complex driving environment, with more cars on the road now than ever before, moving across more complex roadways and intersections. Novice young drivers can easily make mistakes through dangerous choices or inexperience that could negatively alter their future.

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