We all remember the exhilaration, and perhaps the anxiety, of getting behind the wheel for the first time. It’s a feeling every teenager anticipates as their 16th birthday draws nearer. But this time of year, with more young drivers on the road, we all need to be mindful of added risks.
On average, teenagers between 16 and 19 are four times more likely to get into accidents than adults. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between 15 and 20. Many teens underestimate the dangers of risky driving behaviors. If you have driving-aged kids, please take a minute to talk to them about these common risk factors.
Texting and Teen Driving
In many contexts, multitasking is a valuable skill. Not with driving, however. Your attention should never be diverted when you drive.
Nowadays most kids are glued to their phones and regularly communicate by texting. Of those who are old enough to drive, many have texted, emailed, or talked on the phone while driving. Here are some alarming statistics:
- 34% of 16- and 17-year-olds text while driving.
- 48% of kids between 12 and 17 were passengers in a car while the driver was texting.
- Research has found that texting while driving increases a teen’s risk of crashing by 23 times.
Though texting is by far the most alarming distraction, anything that takes your eyes off the road is dangerous: eating or drinking, fiddling with the radio, or even checking directions. Make sure your teen understands the risk, and lead by example.
In 2016, speeding was a factor in 31% of teen driving fatalities. Overall, teens are inexperienced and more likely to underestimate dangerous situations. They are more prone to speeding and leaving less room between their cars and the one in front. Their inexperience makes them less aware of safety measures older drivers are aware of, like reducing your speed during inclement weather or on windy roads.
The good news here is that it’s relatively easy to influence your teen’s behavior. Studies show that teens who are monitored closely are likely to speed less.
Even though drinking under 21 is illegal in all states, teens are more likely than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related accident. In 2016, close to one in five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving, and remind him or her to never ride in a car with someone else who has been drinking or using drugs.
Get Legal Help After a Car Crash
At Darrell Castle & Associates, we understand the physical and emotional toll of a car accident. If you or a loved one has been the victim of dangerous teen driving, call us to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us online today or call 901-327-1212 to speak in person with the auto accident lawyer Memphis TN trusts with their cases.