According to the Center for Disease Control, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Each year, over 5,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 20 will die due to fatal injuries caused by a car accident and approximately 400,000 will be seriously injured. In Florida alone, there were 29,482 crashes involving teen drivers of which 153 teenagers were killed in 2009. Teenagers account for approximately 10% of the entire United States population, but account for 12% of all fatal car crashes.
Researchers give several reasons for this unnerving statistic. First, teenagers tend to speed more and tailgate. Studies have shown that certain areas of a teenager’s brain are not fully developed, particularly the areas of the brain that control risk taking behavior, leading teenage drivers to engage in riskier driving behavior. Second, teenagers will drink and drive instead of assigning an individual to be the designated driver. Third, teenagers have the lowest seatbelt use of any age group. In a recent nationwide study, 10% of high school students admitted to not wearing a seatbelt.
There are several ways parents and families can keep teen drivers safe:
Encourage teenagers to always wear seatbelts and set an example by always wearing your seatbelt.Set an example by not drinking and driving. Teenagers are less likely to drink and drive if their parents and family do not drink and drive.Insist teenagers do not talk on their cell phones or text while driving. There are several applications that can be downloaded on a cell phone to protect teen drivers. For example, certain applications will disable the cell phone’s texting capabilities while the car is in motion.Discourage teens from speeding. Speeding is the #1 cause of auto accidents involving teens. A cell phone application known as Speedbump alerts parents when teens are driving above the speed limit. Additionally, there are several products parents can purchase that can be placed on a vehicle that will alert the parents if their teenager is speeding.
For more information on the contents of this article or any other question you may have, please contact Zweben Law Group.