Parents of teen drivers may worry about their kids when they’re on the road—and with good reason. According to the CDC, in the year of 2011 alone, nearly 292,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 received emergency treatment for serious injuries suffered in vehicle accidents. In addition to this staggering figure, roughly 2,650 teens died in crashes. This represents a large portion of accidents in the U.S., even though teen drivers represent a comparatively small percentage of the population.
What is it that makes teen drivers so accident prone on the road? It is often a combination of factors, which may include the following:
- Inexperience: Young drivers are less experienced when it comes to gauging distance, assessing danger, and making split-second decisions while driving. While an older driver might handle certain situations with care (or avoid them completely), a driver who is young may treat them as less of a threat to his or her safety, posing a higher risk to both vehicle and person.
- Distractions: Cell phones, rowdy passengers, and other distractions can be bad news for any driver, but for teens with little experience driving, they can be especially deadly. For instance, among male teen drivers, the incidence of accidents increases for every teen passenger in the vehicle.
- Recklessness: Teens tend to speed more than adults, and they also tend to allow less following distance between vehicles. Both of these increase the risk of a deadly accident. In addition, the occurrence of accidents due to recklessness is nearly twice as high for males as it is for females.
- Impaired driving: Young age and partying tend to go together, it seems. Because of this, teens are more likely to drive intoxicated or drowsy than other drivers. For any driver who is intoxicated, an accident is very likely, but for each level of blood alcohol content (BAC), adolescents have statistically higher rates of accidents than older drivers.
Ultimately, all of these problems stem in one way or another from a lack of experience, which can lead to poor judgment, errors when reacting to other vehicles, and simple recklessness. Even for teen drivers who do their best to drive safely, they still have difficulty gauging distances, maintaining a consistently safe speed, and performing other tasks vital to safe driving.
Safe Teen Driving
One of the best ways to learn to drive safely is to get plenty of supervised practice. There are many factors involved in controlling a vehicle safely, including monitoring traffic patterns, watching for signs and traffic lights, maintaining a safe speed and distance from other vehicles, etc. These can only be developed through experience. Other things teens can do to stay safe behind the wheel are:
- Wear a seat belt
- Do not drink and drive
- Avoid driving at night or in unsafe conditions
- When in doubt, play it safe
There are also technologies available to help teens drive more safely and learn important skills. At Safe Drive Systems, we offer radar- and camera-based technology that monitors traffic of all kinds and gives advance warning of potential danger. For more information on how our technology can benefit teens, contact us today.