The presence of teenage drivers on the road increases the risk of crashes. There are various reasons why this age group gets into accidents more than any other group, and inexperience is a major one.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve teen driving and reduce accident risk. Graduate driver licensing programs and parent involvement are two effective methods.
Common causes of accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses that, although inexperience is the number one cause of crashes, there are other reasons as well. Driving distracted, such as using the phone, playing with the radio, eating or talking with other teenagers in the car, is a common cause. So is weekend and nighttime driving.
Drinking alcohol and speeding are two high-risk behaviors that often result in crashes. The lack of seatbelt use increases the chances and severity of injuries.
Graduated licensing programs reduce risk
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses that most states have a graduated driver licensing law, and the provisions help reduce the number of teen-related accidents. These GDL programs restrict certain driving behaviors, such as driving at night or with other teens in the car, until the driver gains more experience.
Parents play a role
Teenagers look to their parents as role models, so their guidance can improve a teenager’s ability behind the wheel. Some things parents can do include:
- Accompany their teen in various driving situations and conditions and give them advice
- Demonstrate good driving skills and behaviors, such as not driving distracted, obeying traffic laws and not getting behind the wheel after drinking
- Enforce the GDL guidelines
It also helps if parents establish a driving agreement with their teen and outline consequences for violating any of the terms.