Auto Accidents and Teenagers
With anything new there is always going to be a learning curve. The numbers for teen traffic accidents is critically high. Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
Teens Motor Vehicle Deaths – Reports from the CDC remind us that teen traffic accidents still account for the greatest number of fatalities for ages 16-19. More than 1 in 3 of that age groups total deaths were a result of auto fatalities. In 2009 eight teens died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Numbers such as these should make all drivers take pause.
Teen Drivers Statistics – In 2009 there were around 3,000 deaths and 350,000 injuries related back to teen motor vehicle incidents. Drivers under the age of 25 account for only 14% of the population but cost insurance $26 billion annually. Ancillary costs stay with drivers for years beyond that.
Address the Risks – Teen traffic accidents happen for a variety of highly preventable reasons. Teens speed. Teen drivers also allow for less room between them and the car in front of them. Drinking and driving is so prevalent in teen auto fatalities; near 26% for male driving fatalities in 2005.
Teens also don’t wear their safety belts. This has got to be one of the most upsetting and startling figures to come from this CDC report. 12.5% of male teen high school students admit to “never or rarely wearing a seat belt;” 7.8% of female students admit to the same. In 2008 almost 75% of teens killed in a drunk driving accident were not wearing their seat belt.
Teens also have a time of day and day of week when they like to get in accidents. If it’s between 3pm and midnight, teens are likely to get into an accident; Friday-Sunday account for 56% of the teen motor vehicle accidents.
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What does all this mean about teen traffic accidents? For starters education is so vitally important. Getting kid’s time on the road with supervision to all minor incidents can help to show them what a huge responsibility operating a motor vehicle is. The CDC also says there has been some success with the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs which delays full licensing; allowing teens to get some on-road experience.
Whatever the answer is greater attention must be paid to teens and driving. For our teens and everyone else they share the road with.