I think that we all have our own beliefs about the safety issues involved with sharing the road with teenagers. I am sure that most people have seen a car full of teens and grasped the wheel a little harder or tried to move out of their way. Many stereotypes label teens as bad drivers and sure it is not fair to say that all teens are bad drivers. However, statistically speaking it is fair to say that many teenage drivers pose serious risks to themselves and others when they are on the road.
Some statistics just cannot be ignored. Take for example study findings by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and a number of the country’s leading car insurance providers. These reputable organizations have evidence that shows that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Not only are motor vehicle crashes the single biggest killer of teenagers, but they kill more teens than AIDS, street violence, and drug use combined. More specifically, vehicle crashes account for 41% of teen fatalities. 41% is huge! In the last decade there have been approximately 68,000 teens killed in automobile accidents. Imagine how many families that number effects. If there were a way to reduce this number by even one teenager, your teen perhaps, it would be worth working for.
Statistics about safe driving for teens are truly frightening. No one wants to contemplate the possibility that their own child could fall victim to a terrible accident and be included in one of these fatality statistics. This is why it is so important for parents to do all in their power to educate their children, to use these statistics if necessary, in order to make the threat of driving irresponsibly real to them.
Teens are involved in car crashes nine times more often than their parents. So there has to be something that parents are doing that their teenage children are not and this is a good place to start when it comes to educating your kids about safe driving. Did you know that teens are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a single vehicle crash? They are more likely to veer off the road into trees, poles, or barriers. Ask your teens why they think this is. Also inform them that the risk of a teen being involved in an accident raises with each additional teen that is riding in the car. Do you see a connection between these two statistics? Now consider the fact that teenage deaths due to motor vehicle accidents occur on weekends 53% of the time. Teenagers who ride with their friends are generally more distracted than other drivers. Not only are they more distracted by their friends when they are driving but they are less likely to follow the rules of the road due to peer pressure or a desire to feel invincible or exciting.
There are definitely times and situations where teens are at an even greater risk when they take the keys to the car. According to 1998 department of Transportation figures, one-fifth of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes consume at least one alcoholic drink before getting behind the wheel. Male teen drivers are at greater risk than female teen drivers. In fact, two out of three fatal teen crash victims are males. This statistic lends to the theory that males are more likely to feel the need to put on a fearless front and to act recklessly in order to impress their male and female friends. Finally, almost two-thirds of the young people who die in car crashes are not wearing seat belts. Simply teaching your teen of the importance of wearing a seatbelt may be enough to save their life. Surely that is worth your time to educate your teens about driving safely.