But are teen drivers really that dangerous?
The best way to understand the issue of teenage drivers and risky behavior is to look at the hard facts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), back in 2010 a staggering seven teens died on average as a result of car accident related injuries. The CDC also found that drivers that were between the ages of 16 and 19 were three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than those who were 20 years old. Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent automotive safety group, states that car accidents are actually the top cause of death for 13 to 19 year olds.
These statistics certainly help to establish that the youth are more likely to die from car accidents than older drivers. But why are teenage drivers so likely to die behind the wheel?
One of the biggest reasons for this is drinking and driving, despite being under-aged. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded back in 2011 that 24 percent of teenage drivers that were behind the wheel and involved in a fatal crash had been drinking beforehand. Of those drivers, 26 percent of them had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
Furthermore, the study also found that the problem was much more pronounced with male drivers with 28 percent of teenage male drivers involved in fatal wrecks having been drunk at the time versus only 16 percent of teenage female drivers. Male teenage drivers are also twice more likely to die in a car crash than their female counterparts.
However, there are several other factors that put teen drivers much more at risk. Another big risk factor is that teenagers are much more likely to speed. Again, according to the CDC, 39 percent of the male teen drivers involved in fatal accidents during 2012 were driving over the posted speed limit.
Lack of experience, of course, is another important factor as well. This makes it much harder for them to avoid accidents because they will be unable to see potential dangers until it is too late. For example, teenage drivers often fail to realize how certain weather conditions, such as fog or rain, can drastically change the conditions of the road and the potential risks they need to watch out for.
But wait, we do have some good news!
Despite the high number of teenagers who are injured or killed in car accidents, there is a downward trend that has been going on for years now. According to the NHTSA, fatalities of teenage drivers has decreased from 3,800 in 2002 to only 2,000 in 2011, which is almost a 50 percent drop in only a matter of 9 years.
Parents can also make a difference by taking various steps. Selecting a car that comes with advanced safety features is always a good move, even for your own sake. Before you make a purchase, take the time to research different models and how they have performed in crash tests. As well as you should keep active safety measures in mind. Another key step is to talk with your children about safe driving. You should not expect a driver’s education course to do all the work and no one knows your child’s habits better than you.