Did You know motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15 to 18-years-old in the U.S. – ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence? In 2016, 2,288 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 814 deaths were the teen driver — a 6% increase from 2015.
National Teen Driver Safety Week, presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) is a great opportunity for parents to start – and continue – having conversations with their teens about the importance of driving safely. Whether driving a car, truck or SUV, the rules stay the same, and teenagers shouldn’t have the keys if they don’t know them.
At Dale E. Anstine personal injury law firm, we know parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about the six rules for the road:
- Don’t Drive Impaired.
- Buckle Up – Every Trip. Every time. Everyone. – Front Seat and Back.
- Eyes on the Road. Hands on the Wheel.
- Obey All Posted Speed Limits.
- Understand Passenger Limits.
- Avoid Driving Tired.
Don’t Drive Impaired.
Teenagers are too young to legally buy, possess or consume alcohol. However, across the nation in 2016 nearly one out of five teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in a fatal crash had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance – including illicit, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication – could have deadly consequences. It is critical teen drivers understand why they shouldn’t drive impaired; that they know that they will lose their license if they are caught driving impaired; and they will face additional consequences for breaking the rules they agreed to follow when they started driving.
Buckle Up – Every Trip. Every time. Everyone. – Front Seat and Back.
Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet too many teens aren’t buckling up. In fact, 569 passengers were killed in vehicles driven by teen drivers, and more than half (54%) of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. Even more troubling, in 85% of cases when the teen driver was unbuckled, the passengers were also unbuckled.
Eyes on the Road. Hands on the Wheel.
Distractions while driving are more than just risky — they can be deadly. In 2016, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group (ages 15-18) also has the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a crash. Remind teens, texting while driving (or finding that perfect song to play) can be deadly.
Obey All Posted Speed Limits.
In 2016, almost one-third (31%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Male drivers were more likely to be involved in fatal speeding-related crashes than females.
Understand Passenger Limits.
Teen drivers transporting passengers can lead to disastrous consequences. Research shows the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers. Check the law, many states including Pennsylvania limit the number of non-family passengers in cars for new drivers.
Avoid Driving Tired.
Teens are busier than ever: studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and spending time with friends are among the long list of things they do to fill their time. However, with these activities, teens tend to compromise something very important — sleep. This is a dangerous habit that can lead to drowsy driving. Even after 7-8 hours of quality sleep, people are most likely to feel drowsy between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m., which is generally when teens are driving home from school and activities.
Getting a driver’s license is an important rite-of-passage for teenagers, and the personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine encourage our community to talk about safe driving practices with new drivers. We want everyone to be safe on the roads! Questions about how to talk to your teen driver? Visit the NHTSA for more great tips on talking to new drivers about safety.
At Dale E. Anstine Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury cases. While we hope you never need our services, if you or someone you love is injured through negligence of another person, reach out today for your free consultation. Get a specialized attorney on your side who has a full understanding of personal injury law. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7 and there’s no fee unless we win for you.