This is so unfair!!! Why can’t I just take a driver’s test and get my license. Why do I need all that training and hours of supervised driving practice? Why am I limited in the number of friends I can have in the car; adults aren’t? And, why are my insurance premiums so high? I’m a good driver.
Think so? The latest available statistics show that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Six teens, ages 16 to 19, die every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teens are nearly three times more likely than older drivers to be in a fatal crash. As for insurance premiums, youth account for $10 billion in cost for motor vehicle injuries. 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age; 1 out of 5 will have an accident their first year.
Why? Lack of driving experience and immaturity are the two main factors. Due to lack of experience, teens don’t recognize and respond to hazardous situations as quickly as they will when they’ve been driving for a few years. Immaturity leads to risky behavior just because it’s fun.
What are the risk factors teens should avoid?
- Crash risk increase incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit.
- Teen passengers. The risk of being killed increases with each additional teen in the vehicle.
- Night driving. 40% of teen deaths occur between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.
- Using the phone (to talk, to text, to change the music, to email).
- Not using a seatbelt. Statistically, teens are the least likely to use seatbelts.
- 24% of the teens drivers killed in crashes had been drinking; 19% had blood alcohol over the legal limit.
What’s the best thing a teen can do to be a good driver? Readily take advantage of the Graduated Driver’s License Programs. More and more states are requiring GDL programs, including Ohio.
Stop giving your parents a hard time! Insurance companies are offering discounts to parents who use video cams, GPS, and black boxes to monitor teen driving. Auto makers are installing systems to allow parents to program speed limits and audio volumes, send cellphone calls to voice mail, and block text alerts. The goal for parents – 0 teen fatalities. Good Goal!!