Campaigns designed to alert people to the dangers of distracted driving have helped to lower the incidences of fatal teen traffic crashes by making teens safer, more aware behind the wheel. However, a new study has revealed that although we have made significant progress in reducing the amount of teen motorist car accidents, teenagers remain the most dangerous age group of drivers on America’s roads. In fact, the amount of fatal accidents involving teen drivers has skyrocketed 10% in just the past year, the first time in a decade that teen driver collision rate has increased in over a decade.
The Governors Highway Safety Association conducted the study, which delved into data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System and took a hard look at the past ten years of data. Interestingly, the amount of teenagers who were involved in car accidents has declined since 2006. What no one has figured out yet is why there has been a drastic increase in teen driver accidents in 2015.
Why are Teenagers More at Risk to Cause Car Crashes?
While this drastic increase is baffling to researchers, there has been plenty of research done to find out why teenagers are more at risk to cause car crashes. The CDC says that teenagers tend to:
- Underestimate hazardous or dangerous circumstances and situations;
- Participate in risky behavior, such as texting while driving, speeding, racing;
- Forget or refuse to wear seatbelts;
- Drink or take illicit drugs and drive.
When teenagers first start getting behind the wheel, they not only lack the intrinsic feeling of being mortal, but they also do not have as developed appreciation of risk as adults do. Therefore, they tend to make critical and sometimes fatal decision mistakes. Those mistakes are what cause some of the most gruesome traffic crashes on our roads.
What Can We Do to Prevent Teen Driver Accidents?
New teen driver safety campaigns come out all of the time, but no matter how many programs our communities and government agencies put out there, safety starts in the home. Parents need to sit down and discuss driving rules for their teenagers. Parents should also pay close attention to their teenagers’ activities to make safer teen drivers.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has researched teen driving behaviors for many years now. They say that parents who establish a clear set of rules, know who their teens are hanging out with and where they are going, and do these things in a positive and supportive manner (compared to teens with parents who are not as involved) have teens who are:
- Half as likely to crash;
- Twice as likely to put on their seat belts;
- Are 71% less likely to get behind the wheel while intoxicated; and
- Are 30% less likely to talk or text on their cell phone while they are behind the wheel.
The bottom line here is that parents must get involved in their teenager’s lives to ensure that all drivers on the roads of America are safe. There is a fine line in parenting between providing our teens guidance and being part of their lives and being too restrictive. Healthy guidance and limitations can reduce risky teen behavior, not just behind the wheel, but in all parts of their lives.
If your teenager has suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania car accident, you might be able to recover some or all of the financial loss you have endured in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact the law offices of Solnick & Associates, LLC at (877) 415-6495 for a free and confidential consultation today.