Teen drivers are new drivers which means they don’t have a lot of experience behind the wheel. Unfortunately, driving inexperience can lead to tragedy for younger drivers. In fact, a new study conducted by researchers from AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that newly licensed drivers between 16 and 17 were 3x as likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. This study was released just as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers began – between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During this time, the average number of teen driver accidents rises 15%. Given those statistics, preventing teen car accidents should be something on the mind of every parent.
Researchers from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found that for every mile driven, teen drivers aged 16 to 17 were 3.9x more likely to be involved in a crash and 2.6x more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over the age of 18. They are also 4.5x as likely to be involved in a crash and 3.2x more likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drivers between the ages of 30 and 50. Even elderly drivers over the age of 80 were less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
Fatal accidents are on the rise across the country and across all age groups, including teenagers. The AAA listed three reasons they believe that fatal accidents are on the rise:
For teenagers, there is another factor that contributes to the increase in fatal car accidents: lack of experience. When teenagers start driving, their lack of experience leads to poor judgment and decisions, especially on the road. Because of this, parents should make sure that their teen gets a lot of practice in varied driving situations. It is also recommended that teenagers take a driving safety class.
Parents can also take one very important safety measure when handing over the keys to their car: make a driving contract. If teenagers fulfill the necessary requirements when driving, then their driving privileges can be extended. Some of the things in the contract may include always buckling up, never texting and driving, and always driving sober.
If parents are concerned that their teenager is still texting and driving or using their phones behind the wheel, then new technology may help. New software in some cars can help by offering speed alerts and even giving parents a report of their child’s driving habits. This technology even mutes the music in the car if the driver is not wearing their seatbelt.
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