Recent Study Shows That Teen Deaths from Car Accidents Significantly Reduced by Safety Technology
Past research reveals that teen drivers are worse at recognizing hazards and controlling vehicles like experienced drivers. This tends to result in more loss-of-control and run-off road crashes. Teen drivers are less focused and are prone to drive at a high speed either with poor visibility or on slick roads. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that crash avoidance features and teen-specific vehicle technologies have the potential to prevent three-quarters of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
Teens Who are More at Risk
- Newly Licensed Teens: In the year 2016-2017, the National Household Travel Survey brought out data that shows the rate of car crashes in teens. It is 1.5 times as high for a 16-year-old as it is for an 18-19-year olds per mile driven. These crashes are high in the first months of licensure.
- Males: A study report in 2019 shows that the male teen drivers aged 16-19 car accident rate is twice the rate for the females within the same age range.
- Teen Drivers with Teen Passengers: The risk of having a teen passenger who is as inexperienced as the teen driver increases the risk of a fatal crash. An unsupervised teen driver and a teen passenger is a time bomb waiting to explode.
Causes of Fatal Teen Car Crashes
Unlike experienced adults, teens are more likely to make critical decision errors that can lead to fatal crashes. They most times do not recognize dangerous situations and this can end up being fatal for them.
- Nighttime and Weekend Driving
A recent study in 2019 shows that car accidents for teens aged 13-19 occur between 8:45 pm to 5 am. About 52% of these crashes happen on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
- Not Using Seat Belts
Teens and young adults have the lowest seat belt rate. It is common among high school students who neglect to wear their seat belts while riding in a car driven by someone else. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey in 2016-2019 gave a study report of the percentages of seat belt use between teens and adults.
The use of seat belts for young adults and teens within the ages of 16-24 years is approximately 87%, whereas the one for adults within the ages of 25 and above is 95% or higher. Also, in 2019, teen drivers and passengers within the ages of 16–19 who died in an auto crash were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
- Distractions During Driving
It is said that distractions while driving are dangerous for every person behind the wheel. But it can be more harmful to an inexperienced young driver. A study result from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, reveals that 39% of high school students in the U.S were either texting or sending emails while driving.
Teen drivers are more prone to speed than adult drivers. A study in 2018 revealed that 30% of male teen drivers within the ages of 15-20 years, and 18% of female teen drivers of the same age bracket who were involved in fatal car crashes were on speed.
- Alcohol Use and Substance Abuse
The risk of alcohol use and substance abuse is higher in car accidents for teen drivers. Being intoxicated while driving is illegal for every person involved. The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2018-2019 revealed a higher percentage of teen drivers who drove while under the influence of alcohol.
Other factors also include reckless driving, driving with teen passengers, and impaired driving.
How to Prevent Teen Drivers From Car Accidents
- The Seat Belt Rule
Car crash-related injuries and death is reduced by half when seat belts are on. It is common for teen passengers between the ages of 16-19 years to be in the car without their seat belts on. Thanks to the primary enforcement law on seat belts that allows officers to issue a ticket to passengers and drivers who fail to adhere to the law.
- Avoid Drinking and Driving
There is a minimum legal drinking age and zero-tolerance laws for drivers under 21. Enforcing and maintaining these laws will help prevent young drivers from drinking and driving.
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Systems Also Reduces Fatal Crashes
Driving is a well-known complex skill that needs more practice and focuses to be well equipped with driving knowledge. The risk of car crashes is the fact that your teen is inexperienced and has risk-taking behavior. This is why the need for building skills and driving supervision for new and inexperienced drivers is the basis for graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems.
- Crash Avoidance Features and Teen-Specific Vehicle Technologies
Automakers and software developers offer technologies that are specifically designed for young/teen drivers. Study research shows that most parents do not know that their new vehicles are equipped with teen-driver-specific technologies, while others do but do not make use of them.
There are in-vehicle technology suites like Ford’s MyKey and GM’s Teen driver that have embedded features like the parent-controlled speed limiters and gearshift or stereo system interlocks activated when the front seat occupant isn’t buckled in. There are also smartphone apps like Hyundai’s BlueLink and Grom Social’s MamaBear that provide parents with real-time alerts of their teens speeding or breaking nighttime driving curfews. If this crash avoidance technology is universally adopted, it will reduce car crashes in teens and help them stay safe.
For the teen-specific technology to be effective, it should be known by parents and installed on the vehicles the teen drives. If parents are keen on knowing if their teens are adhering to the rules, parental notifications will help them with monitoring alerts. They will also be accorded the chance to take action on their teen if they violate the established restrictions.
At least the risk of reducing speeds and the encouragement of seat belts among teens is now on some vehicles and smartphone apps. Notwithstanding, if your teen driver suffers an auto crash injury caused by another, you can contact an auto crash attorney to help with the process of getting you the compensation you deserve.