According to recent research, car crashes are one of the top causes of death for U.S. teens. Fortunately, the vast majority of these deaths are easily preventable. Research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) concluded that this risk is highest during the first 18 months after a teen becomes licensed to drive. In fact, novice teen drivers have four times the risk of their more experienced counterparts.
“Teen drivers, particularly novice ones, are overrepresented in U.S. fatality and injury crash statistics. The extraordinarily high teen crash rates are unacceptable and it is our core mission to save lives,” said Charlie Klauer, a VTTI researcher and head of the institute’s Teen Risk and Injury Prevention Group. “We believe that we can reduce these high crash rates through education, engineering, and enforcement for all of the risks that face teen drivers.” A Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a car accident.
Primary Risk Factors
The combination of inexperience and the feeling of invincibility among teen drivers can be a recipe for disaster. Inexperience can only be solved with time and practice. If possible, new drivers should avoid driving at night, with non-adult passengers, and on the interstate for at least the first few months. The feeling of invincibility common during the teen years is more of a challenge. The best way to combat this problem is through education, constant safety reminders, and the modeling of good driving behaviors. Remind your kids about the risks of speeding and distracted driving. They might seem annoyed, but studies show that parents who preach and practice safe driving behaviors have kids who do the same. The key risk factors of teen drivers include:
- Hard braking
- Driving at night
According to Klauer, increasing distractions brought on by the impact of mobile devices is one of the greatest risks affecting teen drivers today. And this risk doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
“One out of every five young drivers in the United States is involved in a collision within the first six months of driving, often because they are distracted. We cannot stress enough the importance of educating teen drivers, parents, and the public at large about potential risks and the best methods to alleviate them. That way, we can provide the guidance and best practices teen drivers need to stay safe on the roads,” Klauer said. A MA car accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an auto accident.
Teen Crash Statistics
- More than 5,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 20 die annually in car accidents.
- More than 400,000 teens in the same age group are seriously injured in car accidents every year.
- The risk of being killed in a car crash is highest for teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.
- Teens make up approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 12 percent of all fatal auto accidents.
- Teen drivers account for more about 30 percent of all total car accident costs in the U.S., that’s approximately $26 billion annually.
- The motor vehicle accident death rate is more than one and a half times greater for male teens than for female teens.