Teenagers may love the freedom they associate with getting their driver’s license, but they should also be aware that their age group is at high risk of car accidents. This puts them and other drivers in danger and results in injuries and even death.
Fortunately, strategies such as graduated driver licensing programs and parental involvement help reduce the chances of collisions.
Stats and facts
According to the Insurance Information Institute, although teenagers account for only 5.3% of drivers in the country, they are responsible for 8% of fatal crashes. Alcohol is a factor in 24% of the fatalities, and almost half of the teenagers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
Graduated licensing programs
One thing that has substantially reduced accidents are graduated driver licensing programs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a GDL is a three-stage system that limits driving situations involving high risk, such as driving with other teenage passengers and night driving. These restrictions reduce gradually as the teen gains more experience behind the wheel.
Along with ensuring their teenagers are following the state’s GDL laws, parents have a lot of influence. They can be good role models by refraining from driving while using the phone or performing other distracting behaviors, following all traffic laws, wearing a seatbelt and talking about the dangers associated with drinking and driving.
Parents can also play a role in improving their teenagers’ driving skills. They can accompany them on drives and guide them through more challenging situations such as highway driving, construction zones, inclement weather and rush hour.