Car accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers. Teenage drivers 16-19 are three times more likely to get into an accident than drivers over the age of 20. The reason why? Experts believe it is due to a lack of experience and underestimating roadway dangers. But are teen drivers a hazard to other drivers on the road? Consider the following:
· In 2017, 3,255 teenage drivers were involved in fatal accidents.
· Teen drivers are more likely to engage in speeding and tailgating.
· In 2010, 39% of fatal accidents among male teen drivers were caused by speeding.
· Teen drivers represent 14% of the driver population but account for 30% (males) and 28% (females) of the total cost of accidents and injuries.
· Alcohol is a factor in 20-25% of fatal accidents involving teenagers.
· More than 50% of teens involved in fatal accidents in 2009 were not wearing seat belts.
· Teen drivers are the most likely group to use their cell phones while driving. An estimated 6 out of 10 severe teen-involved accidents involve distracted driving.
· In 2017, 229 teens were killed in accidents involving distracted driving.
These statistics certainly suggest that teen drivers are a hazard on the road. But it must be noted that teen drivers are only as good a driver as they are taught to be. Good driving practices and enforcement is imperative to reducing the number of teen-involved accidents. Parents, schools, and law enforcement must work together to help teens recognize the risks and make good choices.