Distractions Put Teen Drivers at Higher Risk for Accidents
One of the most important milestones in a teenager’s life is getting that set of keys to their first car and the freedom that comes along with it. The last thing on a teen driver’s mind is the associated risks of driving and the eye-opening statistics that show that teen driving is risky. The summer months prove to be the most dangerous for young drivers as they have more free time to spend on the road.
Whether it’s due to their novice skills or easily distracted nature, the risk of being in a car crash is four times more likely for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19. Additionally, their chances of a fatal collision are highest within the first six months of obtaining their driver’s license.
Car accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teenagers in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
These risks increase even more when there are teen passengers in the car. Like texting and driving, having other young people in the vehicle serve as an easy distraction that deter teen drivers from focusing on the road.
One tool that is decreasing these risks for teens is Graduated Driver Licensing programs (GDL). This tiered driving program allows new drivers to ease into full driving privileges as they gain experience and driving hours. In Arizona, teens must be at least 15 years and 6 months old to obtain their graduated instruction permit. At age 16 they may apply for their graduated driver’s license after completion of various criteria. To view this information you may visit the Arizona Department of Transportation web site. This program enables teen drivers to learn how to navigate the roads safely under lower risk situations.
AAA offers interactive tools to prepare both parents and teens for driving, including a guide to teen driver safety. Some of these tips include:
• Always wearing a seatbelt
• Not riding with other teens in the vehicle without parental consent
• Being a safe passenger
• Restrict night time driving
• Always remain alert of potentially hazardous situations
• Never drive aggressively- aggressive driving increases chances of a collision drastically
There are many resources available for both parents and teen drivers to educate themselves about safe driving. Remember to practice healthy driving habits in front of your teen.