California communities are participating in National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign, which runs through the end of this weekend, aims to highlight the surprisingly high rates of dangerous crashes that involve teenage drivers. This week offers a good opportunity to look at some teen driving statistics.
To start with, teenagers are much more likely to be involved in a car accident. While that may not be surprising to some readers, the rate of fatal accidents involving teenagers might be more alarming. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death for American teenagers; car accidents kill 5,000 teens every year.
Here in California, drivers between ages 16 and 19 are four times more likely to die in a car accident than all other drivers between ages 20 and 69. California authorities also say that, contrary to some popular stereotypes, the vast majority of these wrecks do not involve thrill-seeking. Instead, teen drivers are vulnerable to distractions and inexperience.
Although experience can only come with time and practice for many drivers, parents can do a lot to model better driving practices. Many teenagers report seeing their parents speed on a regular basis and use phones to text while driving. This sends a dangerous message to teenagers about motor vehicle safety.
With National Teen Driver Safety Week happening right now, this is a good time to remind a teenage child that dangerous driving habits can easily end up causing deadly wrecks.
Source: Mercury News, "Editorial: Effort to keep teens safe when they start to drive," Oct. 8, 2012