Teenagers are at a greater risk for death when they decide to get behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that car accidents are the main cause of teen deaths in the country, with over 2,000 young people dying in crashes in 2017 alone.
The causes behind these deadly wrecks vary, and understanding their risk factors may help you protect the teen driver in your home from becoming another statistic.
The presence of teenage passengers in a car with a driver of the same age can increase the risk of a crash. Talking, laughing and using cell phones and other electronic devices can all cause serious distractions for a teen driver, especially if there is no adult in the car to supervise. You might want to restrict teen carpooling to school or other events unless you or another adult is present.
Newly-licensed teen drivers are typically at a higher risk for causing a car crash because they do not have the experience to recognize a dangerous roadway situation or to drive defensively. Confusing road signs or inability to control the vehicle when a quick decision is required can also lead to a serious or even fatal crash.
The thrill of driving can cause your teen to exceed the speed limit, especially if he or she is alone in the car. Speeding reduces response time and may give your teen little or no time to avoid a potential crash.
Seat belt use and professional driving instruction can reduce the risk of your teen dying in a car wreck. While crash risk is generally highest for younger teens, parental involvement is often key in preventing these incidents.