National Teen Driver Safety Week

by William Mattar | October 22nd, 2020

Father teaching his teen son to driveAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers (15- to 18-year-olds) in the U.S. Shockingly, about half of all teens will be involved in a car accident before they graduate high school. Needless to say, teen driving accidents and fatalities continue to be a major safety concern on our roadways.

That is why this week, October 18-24, is National Teen Driver Safety Week. For National Teen Driver Safety Week, the NHTSA encourages parents to speak to their teens about safe driving habits and the various risk factors that can contribute to teen driving fatalities.

Continue reading to learn more about the issue of teen driving accidents, and how you can help prevent them.

Teen Driving Crash Statistics

The NHTSA  gathered several statistics on teen driving accidents in 2016 that help shed light on the issue of teen driving safety:

  • Over 2,082 teen drivers of passenger vehicles were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes
  • Nearly 20 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were drinking and driving
  • Distracted driving was a factor in 10 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver
  • There were 2,288 traffic fatalities in accidents involving teen drivers

These are just a few of the sobering figures that make National Teen Driver Safety Week necessary. Sadly, the fatality rates in teen driving accidents have remained steady in recent years. In 2018, approximately 2,121 people were killed in accidents involving a teen driver.

Why are Teen Driving Accidents So Common?

Several risk factors make teen driving crashes common. Overall, inexperience behind the wheel can make teen drivers more likely to become distracted while driving.. Texting and driving are especially dangerous, and according to the NHTSA, texting while driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle crash by 23 times.

Teenagers often travel with their friends and other passengers in the car, which makes them more likely to engage in risky behaviors while driving. Teens are also less likely to wear a seat belt while driving or riding as a passenger. According to an NHTSA study, 58 percent of passengers killed in teen driving crashes were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision.

Speeding is also  a major cause behind teen driving wrecks. The NHTSA reports that speeding was a factor in 32 percent of fatal accidents involving teens in the driver seat.

Teen Driving and Alcohol Use

Drunk driving can be a serious problem for teenagers on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of teen drivers (16-20 years old) involved in fatal motor vehicle collisions had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher—the legal limit in the majority of states. Other substances, including illicit and/or prescription drugs, can also impair a driver, resulting in a potentially deadly outcome. Since underage drinking is illegal, to begin with, teens who drive while impaired may also face legal consequences, including fines or suspension of their license.

How Parents Can Help Prevent Teen Driving Crashes

A common denominator among the causes of teen driving accidents is that they are mostly preventable. The NHTSA has developed a comprehensive guide for parents so they can discuss the importance of safe driving with their kids who are starting to drive. Some of these tips include:

  1. Learn about your state’s laws: Every state has graduate driver licensing (GDL) laws for beginner drivers. These laws place certain restrictions on teen drivers to help them obtain driving experience before they receive full driving privileges.
  2. Create “ground rules” for your teen driver: In addition to GDL laws, parents can also set their own rules for their teen drivers, such as limiting drive time hours, or limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle. The NHTSA also suggests suspending teen driving privileges if certain rules are broken.
  3. Set a good example behind the wheel: In every area of safe driving, parents can set a good example when driving with their teen in the car or by helping them learn to drive. Wearing a seat belt and staying off electronic devices when behind the wheel are just a few ways to practice safe driving.
  4. Talk about the dangers of unsafe driving: The NHTSA also recommends that parents talk to teens about hazards, such as drinking and driving and failing to buckle up. Not only is drinking under the age of 21 illegal, but it can also have fatal consequences. Likewise, not wearing a seat belt can increase the risk of serious injury and death in the event of a car crash.
  5. Discuss the legal consequences of unsafe driving: Many actions that lead to teen car crashes also have adult consequences, including using alcohol or drugs or breaking traffic laws. Discussing these consequences with your teen driver may help encourage safe driving.

Hurt in a Teen Driving Crash?

If you or someone you love has been injured in a teen driving-related accident, contact William Mattar today. Our car accident attorneys can help you file a claim for compensation and get your life back on track after a serious crash. Schedule a free case consultation today by completing our online form, or calling our legal team at (844) 444-4444 today.