The leading cause of death for United States teenagers is not any disease or sickness – it is motor vehicle accidents. This is according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some additional statistics and facts about teen driving and the dangers that come along with it.
1.) 56 percent of teens said they use their cellphone while driving
Needless to say, there are more and more car crashes each year which involve either texting while driving or cellphone usage while driving. The danger of doing so cannot be emphasized enough. Reaction time is greatly slowed down when driving distracted and using a phone while driving can cause a driver to take his eyes off the road for the split second that is critical in either braking or avoiding an obstruction, resulting in an accident that could possibly be fatal. Statistics say that talking on the phone while driving can double the chance of an accident occurring and slow the teenager’s reaction time equal to that of a 70-year old.
2.) Over 40 percent of motor vehicle teen deaths happen between 9pm and 6am
A lot of factors can be considered due to this high rate of nighttime driving accidents and deaths – one of which is alcohol. Much like cellphone use and driving, drinking alcohol and subsequently driving make up for a very bad combination, as drivers are impaired and reaction time is greatly slowed down as a result. Since most teenagers have little experience on the road when compared with older drivers, oftentimes they are slow to react when an accident is about to happen. Coupled with alcohol use, the results are fatal, especially during nighttime when it is much harder to see and alertness is of great value.
3.) Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use
The seat belt is the primary protector of the driver and passengers when it comes to car crashes. However, 2013 statistics show that only 55 percent of high school students said that they wore seat belts when riding with someone else. The seat belt is often times the piece of equipment that can determine life or death in car crashes. According to research, seat belt use can reduce death and serious injuries in a car accident by around 50 percent. Teenage drivers, when their parents are involved in some way (being passengers or drivers themselves), are more likely to wear seatbelts.
4.) 35 percent of male teenagers were speeding during the time of the accident
35 percent of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 that were part of deadly car crashes in 2012 were found to be speeding during the time of the crash. Teenagers are more likely to speed than older drivers and are more likely to tailgate, which is highly risky, especially if they drive cars that have more powerful engines. Having male teenagers as passengers also increased the probability of this kind of risky driving.
5.) 1 of every 5 drivers aged 16 has an accident during the first year of driving
This statistic simply indicates that experience or lack thereof is a big factor when it comes to auto accidents, especially for teenagers. A lot of factors contribute to this stat – perhaps not enough practice with the vehicle, or it could simply be not adjusting yet to the actual roads and driving habits of other drivers.
One way to avoid these accidents when it comes to teenage drivers is making sure they’re well-educated about driving, making sure not to drive distracted, and offering guidance until they are ready and experienced enough to drive independently.