According to a recent study performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,466 teenagers were killed across the United States in car accidents in 2009. These occurrences are the leading public health concern for teenagers between 13 and 19-years-old and traffic accidents are the primary cause of death for all teenagers in America. The IIHS research suggests that much of this is due to teen habits and behavior behind the wheel.
The IIHS study confirms that driver age and experience have a significant impact on driver crash risks. Accident rates for younger drivers are elevated mostly due to driver immaturity combined with their overall lack of experience. Behaviors that commonly contribute to teenage driving risk include inexperience an immaturity combined with speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, refusal to wear seat belts, distracted driving practices such as cellphone use, loud music, other teen passengers and drowsy driving.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) is recommending a multi-tiered strategy to aid in the prevention of teen-related motor vehicle deaths and injuries. They suggest promoting increased seat belt usage, implementing graduated driver licensing, reducing teenage access to alcohol and increasing parent responsibility and oversight.
Lyman Munson, vice president of risk services at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, says, “You need to teach safe driving behavior from the beginning. As the parent, you can start by modeling safe driving behavior whenever you driver your children, from the time they are infants.” He suggests teaching children basic driving safety well before they reach the driving age. Munson also advocates the benefits in rewarding good driving behaviors in teens, and strictly enforcing punishments for breaking them.
As a Renton car accident attorney, I’m aware of the increasing problem of teen accidents and the dangers involved. I hope that by providing this information, parents with be able to aid their teens in becoming safer drivers. If you’ve been injured in an accident that you believe was the result of another’s negligent actions, call a car accident lawyer in your city to learn more about the legal avenues open to you.