Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Fortunately, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. In 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
DID YOU KNOW:
- In 2013, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.
- 16 year olds have a higher crash rate than that of any other age.
- Car crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths each year; more than drugs, violence or suicide.
- 56% of teens say they use their cell phones while driving.
- According to national statistics car crashes account for more than 1 out of 3 teen deaths.
- More than 40% of teen auto fatalities happen between the hours of 9 pm. and 6 am.
- Research shows that male teens are at 1.5 times more risk than their female counterparts.
- At most risk are teen drivers with teen passengers and the risk increases with each additional passenger.
- Most teen crashes are due to driver error caused by inexperience and distraction.
- Crash risk is particularly high during the first 12 months that a teen is eligible to drive.
- Compared to other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use.
- In 2005, 23% of drivers ages 15 - 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 g/dl or higher.
- In 2005, 54% of the teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
TEEN DRIVER SAFETY TIPS:
- Know your teens passengers and encourage them to help your teen driver by reducing distractions and wearing seat belts.
- Know the rules; review your states new driver booklet with your teen driver. Look online for your local DMV materials.
- Be a good role model for your teen driver and talk about driving safety strategies with your teen.
- If you can afford it, definitely pay for extra driver training.
- Drivers under the age of 18 should never have passengers that are under the age of 18.
- New drivers should not be allowed to driver after 10pm for the first six months of driving.
- There must be a zero tolerance rule regarding drinking or drugs and driving. Offer to always come and rescue with no consequences.
- Teens should never use a cell phone while driving even if it is hands free.
- Select a safe car for your teen.
- Ride periodically with your teen driver to keep tabs on progress and reinforce solid driving habits.
- Driving is a privilege not a right; have your teen share in the costs of operating the vehicle to teach responsibility, which might translate into better driving skills.
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