Updated on October 3, 2023. Originally published on October 15, 2015.
For teenagers, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage. As parents, we remember our own excitement at passing our driving exam and getting our first set of wheels. We also remember that as teenagers, we seldom appreciated the responsibilities having a driver’s license entails.
Most of us learn hard lessons about the dangers of speeding and the importance of paying attention to traffic signals. If we are lucky, we learn by getting the occasional ticket or driving citation. In less fortunate circumstances, we have friends or loved ones who suffer serious injuries as the result of car accidents, or we are injured in a car accident ourselves.
While today’s teens have more traffic to contend with on the road and more technology to distract their attention behind the wheel, parents also have greater resources for ensuring their child stays safe. If you are a parent or concerned loved one of a teen driver, knowing the facts about teen car accidents and how they can be prevented can help both your loved one and other drivers stay safe.
Statistics On Teen Driving Accidents
While automobile accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for adults in the United States, they are the No. 1 cause of death for drivers aged 16-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 teens die each day in this country as a result of car accidents, and thousands more are injured.
In terms of financial costs, while young people aged 15 through 24 represent only 13 percent of the population, they account for 19 percent of the costs associated with motor vehicle accidents, which is over $90.67 billion.
The risk associated with being involved in a car accident is higher for teen drivers than for any other group.
In terms of the amount of miles driven, teen drivers are three times more likely to get into a car accident than older drivers. The risk of accidents is also higher within the first six months after your teen obtains their driver’s license, and also increases if there are other teenagers who are passengers in the car.
These are all alarming statistics, but what is it exactly that makes driving for teens so dangerous? The factors that contribute to higher car accident rates among teen drivers include:
- General lack of experience.
- Underestimating dangerous situations.
- Tendency to speed and tailgate.
- Lower rates of seatbelt use.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Distracted driving.
With any variety of these factors in play, teen drivers are at risk of seriously injuring themselves, as well as their passengers and others who are on the road.
Safe Driving Tips for Parents and Teens
In light of the statistics, parents have a valid reason to be concerned about their teen’s safety behind the wheel.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to prevent drunk driving accidents. Part of its mission is to ensure the safety of families and their children. To help your young driver beat the odds, MADD recommends the following tips for parents of teenage drivers:
- Go for a ride with them and gauge first-hand your teen’s driving skills.
- Emphasize the importance of always wearing a seatbelt.
- Give them practical pointers in terms of dealing with roadway hazards.
- Remind them to obey posted speed limits.
- Encourage them to give other cars plenty of space.
- Enforce limits on the number of passengers.
- Restrict driving privileges on nights and weekends.
- Warn them about texting cell phone use and the dangers of distracted driving.
Unfortunately, while many parents do not want to think that their underage son or daughter is using alcohol or drugs, the facts tell otherwise.
Have a frank and open discussion about the dangers of driving while under the influence. In addition to the harm they could cause themselves or others, emphasize that they are putting their driving privileges at risk by engaging in behavior that is deadly for adults and teens alike.
Minors face stiff penalties for driving under the influence (DUI), including heavy fines and the loss of their license.
Phone Apps for Parents to Monitor Driving Behavior
As an added precaution, there are now cell phone applications enabling parents to monitor their teen’s driving behavior, which also have the ability to disable the texting and internet access features of their cell phones when they are behind the wheel.
The latest safe driving apps for teens include:
- Safe Driver is an app that monitors the location and behavior of newly licensed drivers and warns parents via text or email when they exceed the speed limit. The app also shows where and when traffic violations occur.
- Canary is another great app that tracks the driver’s speed but also alerts parents when their teenager is texting or otherwise using their cell phones while driving.
- Key2SafeDriving is an app that allows parents to restrict cell phone use while their teen is driving and notifies them if their child tries to override the system.
- TextArrest detects when a vehicle is driving faster than five miles per hour and disables texting and email functions.
- Steer Clear Mobile teaches teens proper driving behaviors, logs driving time and road conditions, and increases eligibility for car insurance.
Many of these apps are available for free or for a low monthly charge. The security of being able to monitor your newly licensed driver’s behind-the-wheel behavior is well worth the cost for many parents.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a car accident, contact our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys today.
At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys work aggressively on behalf of our clients to ensure they get the legal representation they need and the compensation they deserve for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
With offices in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Summerville, and Clinton, we serve clients from the upstate to the Lowcountry. Call Joye Law Firm today at (888) 324-3100 for a free consultation.