It’s probably unsurprising that teenagers are accountable for a large amount of car accidents across the U.S. After all, new drivers lack the experience to be able to avoid many crashes, and teenagers can also make unwise driving choices while older drivers know better. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Every year, over 2,000 teenagers are killed and more than 200,000 injured in accidents throughout the country, and teen drivers are responsible for about 30 percent of the costs of motor vehicle accident injuries.
While it’s true that many teenage drivers knowingly break driving laws, such as driving while intoxicated, speeding or driving aggressively, the majority of young drivers simply lack the experience and skills to avoid an accident. Driving at night takes time and practice to master, as well as knowing how to recognize hazards and make split-second decisions to keep a crash from occurring. Many teenage drivers also don’t wear their seatbelts, increasing the risk of being hurt or killed in an accident.
Accidents show various risks for teen drivers and passengers
When passengers are in a car, teenage drivers can be encouraged to take risks or they may just want to show off for their friends. This may have been the case for a group of teenagers in an accident in Dumas, Texas, last March, as reported by CNN. When the driver of an SUV failed to stop at a stop sign, the vehicle was hit by an oncoming gas tanker, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. Tragically, all five teenage passengers were killed and the driver was seriously injured.
Distracted driving is another major culprit. In another accident in Allen, Texas, last November, a 17-year-old girl was killed when she crashed while texting her boyfriend and sister, said NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
Good parental habits can help prevent accidents
When parents choose to drive safely and set a good example, these habits can be passed on to teenage drivers, and possibly save lives. State Farm offers the following tips for parents:
- Drive safely and courteously.
- Obey traffic laws.
- Don’t drive aggressively, and avoid distractions.
- Buckle seatbelts before driving and ensure passengers do the same.
- Don’t speed, tailgate or drive while tired.
Unfortunately, even with the best examples it’s not always possible for teenagers to prevent accidents. Medical expenses arising from auto accidents can add up quickly. People who have been injured in an accident caused by an inexperienced, intoxicated or negligent teenage driver should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their options.