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What Makes Teen Drivers the Most Dangerous on the Road?

Steve Wagner

Teen Drivers Crash More Often Than Any Other Age Group

Car crashes remain the number one cause of death for U.S. teenagers, ages 15 to 19. This group of inexperienced motorists have the highest rate of crashes among all age groups and contribute disproportionately to some of the most tragic traffic fatalities. Whether it be general recklessness on the road such as speeding, drunk or drugged driving, or just making poor decisions over seatbelt use or choosing to send a text while driving, the American Academy of Pediatrics says teenagers make more errors in judgment than others and in return are involved in more motor vehicle accidents. Experienced drivers can help though. The following messages from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Wagner Reese should help adults understand why being involved in their teen’s driving experience is necessary to keep everyone on the road safe.

  • Brain Development: Teens should be the world’s best drivers. Their muscles are well toned, their reaction time quick, their eye-hand coordination at a peak. Yet vehicle crashes kill more teens than any other cause — a problem, some researchers believe that is rooted in the adolescent brain. In addition, adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at higher risk for crash and injury.
  • Risky Driving Behaviors: Teenagers may engage in risky driving behaviors like speeding, running red and yellow lights, ignoring stop signs, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, not keeping a safe distance for merging or changing lanes, misjudging gaps in traffic and the capability of their vehicles.
  • Distractions: Music, cell phones, pets, food and passengers are best left at home while a teen is driving. Not only do these activities increase the risk of a crash dramatically, it is against the law for any driver under the age of 21 to use a telecommunication device while driving unless making a 911 emergency call.

There is growing hope though. Teens show the greatest improvement in safe driving skills within the first year and 1,000 miles of driving. In addition, the number of teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes has decreased by almost 50 percent over the last decade.

Teen Driving Accidents Do Increase with Risky Behavior

There are several factors that can help keep young people safe from triggering a car crash. Most include solid safe driving lessons, parental involvement, and the law. These additional steps can protect the lives of young drivers and everyone who shares the road with them.

  1. Let your teen driver know not even one drink or drug interaction is OK. Remind them to never get in a car with a friend who has been drinking or using drugs.
  2. Cell phone usage should be zero while operating a motor vehicle. Researchers have shown such momentary notifications are actually distracting the driver for as long as 30 seconds to a full minute. Even checking a text message without responding increases your risk of an accident by 12 times.
  3. Teens should always wear a seat belt. Seatbelts will significantly reduce their risk of serious injury.
  4. Teach your teen about what to do in the event of a highway emergency. Too many teen drivers’ lives are lost every year when attempting to assist an injured motorist or when they make the choice to stop in an unsafe section of traffic.

Parents continue to play a major role in ensuring their teen drivers are aware of their increased accident chances and can help reduce the risk of being responsible for property damage, personal injuries, and even death by staying involved as their teen grows into a more experienced driver.

No Risk Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Attorneys

If you or your family members were injured as the result of the poor decisions of a teen driver, the team at Wagner Reese can assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve and may need for medical care and to cover a loss of wages while injured. There is no risk, as we never collect any kind of fee unless your case is settled or won.

Get in contact with us today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation or speak with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics


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