The Facts About Teen Drivers
“For nearly a century, coming of age in America meant getting behind the wheel. A driver’s license marked the transition from childhood and dependence to adult responsibility and freedom.” according to theatlantic.com. In American Graffiti, the classic movie about teenagers in 1962, teens cruising in cars found fun, friends, and freedom.
Times have changed, and today, for a number of reasons, American teenagers are driving less and getting their licenses later. Teens may have moved on from the car culture, but they have not stopped driving. Motor vehicle crashes are still a leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and distracted driving is one of the top causes.
Teen drivers can easily be distracted by talking with friends or focusing on their smartphones instead of the road ahead. The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s grim statistics for 2017 include:
- Seven percent of the people who died in distraction-affected crashes in 2017 were teens 15 to 19 years old.
- Nine percent of all teen motor crash fatalities involved distracted driving.
- Nine percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were teens 15 to 19 years old.
The risks are highest among teens driving with passengers, male teen drivers, and newly licensed drivers.
To help protect teen drivers from crashes, injuries, and fatalities, all 50 States and the District of Columbia have a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that limits high-risk driving situations for new drivers. This approach can reduce a teen’s crash risk by as much as 50 percent. The Texas GDL program, launched in 2002, places restrictions on the amount of time teens must hold learners permits before taking the driving test, giving new drivers the chance to improve their driving skills over time in lower-risk environments.
Parents have more influence on their teens than they may believe. The NHTSA urges parents to talk to their teens about their risks and about good driving habits. Have conversations about the dangers of combining driving with drug and alcohol use. Remind them that it is illegal to drink before the age of 21, and that it is illegal and deadly to drink and drive.
At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.