Teen Drivers Are Easily Distracted
You know your child is really growing up when they get behind the wheel of a car for the first time. And with technology advancing day-by-day, the cause for driving distractions increases as well. Whether it’s your mother sending you forty text messages asking where you are or your social media pictures garnishing hundreds of likes, teen drivers can become easily distracted.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,333 teens were killed and 221,313 were treated for injuries after car accidents in 2015. Teen drivers accounted for $10 billion of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries in 2015. This happens more often because teens tend to underestimate dangerous driving conditions compared to more experienced drivers.
According to recent research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving was the cause of 6 out of 10 auto accidents involving teen drivers. Researchers had analyzed 6 seconds of footage taken from in-vehicle event recorders before an accident and had found that 58 percent of all crashes, distraction played a factor. This is a huge change from previous estimates made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which states only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes involved distracted driving. Surprisingly, AAA researchers found the number one distraction turned out to be interaction with the vehicle’s passengers at 15 percent, followed by cell phone use at 12 percent.
As parents, we all want to keep our children safe from harm. Here are a few tips from the National Safety Council you should keep in mind before handing over the keys to your eager teenager:
- Hop in the car with your teenager. Once a week, try to join them for a drive and check to see how they’re doing behind the wheel.
- Set a good example. Remember, your child learns to drive by ultimately watching you. Make sure you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Earning privileges. Gradually increase their driving privileges. Every time they show you they can handle one, give them a new one.
- If you’re a dedicated parent, have your teenager sign an agreement of what is expected from them as a driver.