When there are teenage drivers on the road, everyone is at higher risk for accidents and serious injuries. There are numerous factors involved with crashes, and most of them are preventable.
Inexperience is a major factor, and two strategies to fix this issue are graduated licensing programs and parental involvement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, six teens die and hundreds receive injuries every day due to car accidents. Those who pose the greatest risk are males, teens during their first few months of receiving their licenses and drivers with other teenagers in the vehicle. Other risk factors are:
- Lack of seatbelt use
- Weekend and nighttime driving
- Alcohol use
Graduated driver licensing systems
To help combat inexperience, all states have graduated driver licensing systems, which help reduce all crashes by 16% to 22%. GDL programs restrict certain driving rights, such as driving at night and the number and types of passengers allowed. As teens get older and gain more experience, there are fewer restrictions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parents play a major role in improving the driving skills of teenagers. Not only can they enforce the state’s GDL laws, but they also set examples and can guide drivers through challenging situations.
Most teenagers secretly look up to their parents and often mimic behaviors, and this is especially true regarding driving. Parents should refrain from distracting behaviors, such as phone use and eating, while behind the wheel. They should also follow all traffic laws.
To help teens gain experience, parents should accompany them during more difficult circumstances. Examples include nighttime driving, highway driving, construction zones and inclement weather. This helps teenagers gain confidence while a more experienced driver offers guidance.