Did you know motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,886 drivers aged 15-20 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, and statistics say teens are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than adults. To protect teen drivers, we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes new drivers make, and how to prevent them.
Speeding is the most common and deadly mistake new teen drivers make. Nearly 14,000 fatal crashes involving teen drivers in the United States occurred over the past five years. Speeding was a factor in more than 4,200 of those crashes, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Encourage your teen to abide designated speed limits and other traffic laws. Also, new drivers may not always understand that unsafe road conditions or weather changes, such as heavy rain or snow, should warrant slower driving speeds.
2. Distracted Driving
Studies have shown teen drivers are more likely to drive while distracted than other drivers. Distracted driving is anything that physically, mentally, or visually distracts the driver, though it is most commonly associated with cell phone use. Teens have a notorious reputation for texting and driving, which is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do.
To ensure your teen driver stays safe, encourage them to remove distractions before they drive. For example, they can set the radio or music player to a playlist they like before they begin driving, and put the phone in the dashboard so they won’t be tempted to pick it up.
3. Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is an unfortunate and common mistake that drivers of any age can and do make. However, young drivers, especially teens, have been noted as frequently getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The dangers of drinking and driving are severe and could result in a range of serious consequences, including temporary driver’s license suspension, jail time, or even death. Therefore, it’s imperative to encourage your teen to avoid driving if they have consumed alcohol.
4. Failing to Wear a Seatbelt
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the teens and adults who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were not wearing their seat belts. The commonality here is unmistakable: not wearing a seatbelt is a pointless, deadly risk. Make sure your teen understands the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt, both for the sake of safety and because it is against the law.
If your teen does fall victim to a car accident, especially if they suffer an injury, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney. Dugan & Associates are Pittsburgh’s car accident attorneys, with the expertise to get you the compensation you deserve in your time of need. If you have questions, contact us for a consultation.