Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among 16-to-20 year olds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of car accidents among drivers age 16-19 is higher than the risk of any other age group.
Is your teen learning to drive this year or are you the parent of a teen driver who was recently injured in a car accident? You are not alone in either of these scenarios.
Tragically, 2,715 teens between the ages of 13-19 were killed in crashes in 2015, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. About 2 in 3 of those fatalities were male teens. The majority of these tragic deaths were passengers or drivers in vehicles, although some were killed as pedestrians, bicyclists, ATV riders and motorcyclists.
But other than inexperience generally, why are rates of crashes among teen drivers higher than other groups? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has identified the following factors:
- Young drivers are still developing the ability to see and recognize driving hazards on the road
- Teens tend to underestimate the threat of driving hazards
- Teens are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors
- They are less likely to fasten their seat belts
- Their driving skills are still developing
- Drug and alcohol use, which is a common cause of teen driving accidents
- Transporting their friends, who may be distracting to them
- Nighttime driving, which may challenge a teen's limited driving experience, and which signals a more common time for driving under the influence and drowsy driving
So as a parent or guardian of a teen driver, what can you do to better ensure their safety? Fortunately, efforts like graduated driver licensing programs have significantly reduced accident rates among teens during the last few decades. As a parent, you can help your teen learn safer driving habits by discussing the importance of basic safety measures: always buckling up, never drinking and driving, and limiting the number of passengers in the car at any given time.
In Redondo Beach, CA, our experienced and compassionate accident attorneys fight on behalf of accident victims every day. For a free consultation, please call Kirtland & Packard at 310-536-1000