According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016 marks the year that motor vehicle crashes have become the leading killer of U.S. teen drivers. This fact isn’t incredibly alarming, however. Teen car accident fatalities have increased almost yearly in the U.S. leaving us with a very sad, preventable death toll along with so many young, bright lives lost. The problem has become paramount due to texting and driving, teen drinking and driving, not properly wearing a seatbelt, or not wearing seatbelts at all.
Let’s look at the numbers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, last year alone there was a ten percent (10%) increase in young driver deaths in total for the United States with fifty-four percent (54%) of those related to not wearing a seatbelt, thirty-six percent (36%) caused by speeding, and twenty-six percent (26%) caused by teen drinking. This means that six teens died every day last year due to a motor vehicle accident alone.
The reasons given for these crashes are considered “critical errors” meaning that distractions, speeding, or failing to wear a seatbelt were generally the causes. All of these are 100% preventable. Discussion surrounding these preventable acts is necessary. Public service announcements, sheriff departments, and even schools have taken it upon themselves to reiterate how glancing at one text can lead to the destruction of a life or lives, but it’s important for those closest to teens to set the example and teach our teens how to avoid becoming a fatal statistic.
Simple life changes can make astronomical strides in preventing teen car wrecks and deaths. Although the first piece of advice has been driven into the mind of everyone who holds a driver’s license in the United States, it is still a huge factor and important point to teen drivers: Putting down the phone or any other device that may cause distraction while driving is imperative.
Distractions like sending out a text, changing a song on an MP3 player, or simply eating a cheeseburger can wait. Choosing to wait instead of becoming distracted can prevent the devastation of young lives. Another teen driving tip is to obey posted speed limits and to explain to teens that posted signs are not just numbers or rules posted there for no reason but for the sake of keeping drivers safe and to protect drivers from going dangerous speeds and harming themselves or others.
Lastly, the open discussion and prevention of teen drinking and driving is a conversation that must be had with teens to decrease fatality statistics among teen drivers. Oftentimes teens will feel embarrassed, scared, and uncomfortable discussing this with a trusted parent or adult, yet it must be done to ensure teen driver safety. Teen drivers need to understand the risk factors of not only drinking but choosing to drink and drive or riding with someone who is under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Safe alternatives need to be presented to teens such as abstaining from drinking altogether or calling a trusted friend or parent to pick them up if they have consumed alcohol. The most important point to get across to teens is that under no circumstances should they ever drink and drive due to the dangerous and deadly consequences that follow.
Open discussion, trust, and honesty are the best policies when discussing safe driving with teens and the ability to express care, concern, and safe driving tips is vital to their safety. Parents, guardians, teachers, coaches, trusted adults, and friends all have a responsibility to decrease teen car crash fatalities and to reduce these statistics to promote less teen lives lost and safer roadways for all.
For more information about driver safety or for a zero-obligation case consultation if you or a loved one was involved in an unfortunate car crash, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Daryl T. Dixon, Paducah, KY car accident lawyer, today. Our law office is committed to doing everything we can to keep Kentucky roads safe.