The Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association (GHSA) has been focusing on an important public health issue as of late: teen car accidents. In early May, GHSA released its third in a series of reports related to teen accidents, entitled “Promoting Parent Involvement in Teen Driving: An In-Depth Look at the Importance and the Initiatives.” The hundred deadliest days of the year for teenage traffic accidents spans the upcoming period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Our Tulsa injury attorneys know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teen drivers. However, the GHSA reports indicate that parental involvement can make a big difference in keeping kids safe and preventing accidents. The most recent GHSA report provides plenty of helpful information for parents who want to take action to protect their teens. Reviewing some of the data and facts within the report is something every parent should take the time to do.
Facts that parents Should Know About Teen Driving
The GHSA report has statistics about many key issues related to teen car accident risks that can help give parents a better understanding of how to help their kids.
- Graduated driver licensing laws may reduce teen car accidents by between 20 and 40 percent. These laws require kids to first get a permit, then drive with a restricted license and then finally graduate to a full license. The restricted license usually limits the number of passengers in the car with the teen driver. Parents should enforce passenger-restrictions in their own homes to improve the safety of their teen driver.
- Together, inadequate surveillance, driving faster than is safe and distracted driving cause almost 1/2 of all teen car accidents. Parents should explain the dangers of these behaviors to their kids and should forbid teens from speeding or driving while talking on a call phone or otherwise distracted. This is especially important because around 30 percent of teens surveyed didn’t think taking their eyes off the road for 10 seconds was dangerous.
- One out of every seven drivers ages 16-24 fell asleep while driving at least once in the prior 30 days before completing a survey on drowsy driving. This is higher than the average of one out of ten older drivers. Parents should make sure teens are getting eight hours of sleep per night and not driving when tired.
- Teen seat belt use is lower than seat belt use for any other age group. In 2011, 58 percent of teenager drivers and 50 percent of teen passengers in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
This data gives parents some important information about the risks that their kids are taking and about the dangers kids face when driving. The GHSA also indicates that parental style can make a huge difference in how safely kids drive. If kids view their parents as authoritative, they are 70 percent less likely to drive drunk; 30 percent less likely to drive while on a cell phone; and 50 percent more likely to buckle their seat belts. They are also half as likely to crash as kids who see their parents as uninvolved.
This data alone should be enough to get every parent to start focusing more on teen driving, on supervising teenagers and setting rules, and on modeling good driving behavior.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Hansen Dirani & Associates Law Offices at 877-583-0700.