National Teen Driver Safety Week is in full swing and parents of teen drivers are urged to educate their loved ones to the dangers of distracted driving. This is particularly true for Florida residents as Florida currently ranks second in the nation for fatal crashes, with teen drivers accounting for a significantly higher number of those crashes in comparison to other age groups. It isn’t just teens who need to be privy to this information. Any novice driver could make pivotal mistakes — the kind of mistakes that take lives, ruin futures and alter physical and mental states for years to come. In order to better understand what National Teen Driver Safety Week is all about, here is a recap of the points being raised, along with the statistical data that supports the information.
Facts and Figures Related to Teen Driving
- The National Center for Health Statistics and several other government organizations found fatal car crashes to be the leading cause of death in teenagers and young 20 year olds.
- In 2012, 2,823 teenagers lost their lives on the road in a fatal car crash.
- Programs, conversations and overall awareness is working — teen driving fatalities are in decline.
- Even with a more than 7% decrease, teen drivers still account for the most fatalities on the road.
- Leading causes of teen accidents include driving while distracted and driving under the influence.
- Driving under the influence was found to be more prevalent in male teens, who incidentally, have experienced more fatalities than their female teenage driving counterparts.
What it Means to be a Novice Driver
Novice drivers are more at risk for collisions due to their lack of experience and education. For this reason, when picturing a teen driver, you should bear in mind the fact that the twenty something year olds who have just retained licenses fall into this at risk category as well. In order to shed a well needed light on this topic, the NHTSA is directing some attention in the direction of older novice drivers during this year’s safety week. National statistics show that delayed licensing is a trend, particularly in lower income areas where the price of classes, licensing and motor vehicles could put a burden on the family. In instances where drivers delay obtaining licenses, they too, should be made aware of novice driver risks.
What Needs to be Discussed with Novice Drivers — Teen or Older
The NHTSA is putting a strong emphasis on distracted driving since statistics allude to the fact that the majority of national collisions are caused by distracted driving. The NHTSA has put together a comprehensive list entitled 5 to drive which covers the top five dangers most likely to cause a life altering crash.
- No Cell Phones
The NHTSA is urging novice drivers to avoid using the cell phone in the car. This means no texting, no talking, no web surfing etc… All of these could cause a distraction that could lead to a fatal or hurtful collision.
- No Extra Passengers
Collision statistics indicate as much as a 44% increased risk for each additional passenger on board with a teen or novice driver. In many teen driving collisions, the additional passengers are the ones who are at higher risk for fatality.
- No Speeding
Approximately 48% of fatal teen crashes involve excessive speeds. Novice drivers might not be fully aware of the impact a slight increase in mph can cause, especially when combined with number 4.
- No Alcohol/ Intoxicants
28% of fatal teen collisions involve alcohol and DUI manslaughter isn’t the charge any parent would want their teenager facing.
- Buckle Up
Of the 15-20 year olds involved in recent fatal crashes, an approximated 55% of them weren’t wearing a safety belt.
The urge to stay alive usually outweighs the urge to keep up appearances for young drivers. Often, their irresponsible behavior on the road is a reflection of their lack of knowledge and experience. Talk to a novice driver you know this week, or next month or any time the mood strikes you. One conversation could save countless lives.