Teen Driving Safety
What causes more teen fatalities than cancer, suicide, and homicide combined? Motor vehicle accidents.
Don’t believe it? Here is the pertinent quote from a recent, unattributed article in New Jersey Today:
‘More teenagers die from car crashes than from cancer, homicide, and suicide combined,’ reports Michael Rosen, MD, director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. ‘Parents should know that the main cause of teen crashes is driver inexperience. All new drivers — even straight-A students — are at risk for a fatal crash.’
The article also provides some information from The Emergency Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (CIRP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are a couple troubling statistics:
- Most teen crashes involve ‘rookie’ mistakes. Teens need time to gain driving experience under varying road conditions. Make sure that your teen receives at least 50 hours of supervised practice under a wide variety of conditions while learning to drive…
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), two-thirds of teens killed in crashes were not wearing seatbelts. Insist on the use of seatbelts and wear one yourself. Have consequences for not using seatbelts.
And that is only the tip of the iceberg. CIRP statistics seem to be the flavor du jour, they are even citing them in Canada. It would seem that the traffic laws and teen driving issues are similar enough to be valid across the border to the north. This excerpt from The Globe and Mail explains the reasoning:
Teens in the two countries are a great deal alike in their habits, issues, interests and the vehicles they drive, roads they drive on and laws they operate under. Adding relevance to the CIRP data is the sheer size of the database. This includes information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), an annual nationwide U.S. reporting system regarding fatal injuries in motor vehicle crashes. To be included in the FARS data, a crash must involve a motor vehicle travelling on a public road and result in the death of a person (vehicle occupant or non-motorist) within 30 days of the crash. FARS is available at www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov.
Here are some of the stats referenced in The Globe and Mail article (that drew upon a completely different set of statistics, although the data source was the same):
- Almost three in every 10 deaths that occur in crashes where a a teen is driving are to people that are not in the teen’s car. A segment that is often overlooked in discussions of car safety. Thirty percent of those fatalities are to cyclists and pedestrians wile the rest are the occupants of other vehicles.
- Four out of every 10 teen auto fatalities were found to have measurable amounts of alcohol in the bloodstreams.
- More than half of teen auto fatalities were found to have been speeding at the time.
It’s no wonder this subject has been covered repeatedly by the news: The numbers are outrageous and an effective means of lowering them still being developed. Even auto manufacturers are trying to impact the situation these days. Ford’s Driving Skills For Life program is one of the latest attempts in this regard. The auto manufacturer is collaborating with Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to expand its free driving skills program to high schools in 15 states. This $1 million dollar program will help provide driver training to teens that is much more in-depth than what a regular driving school might offer.
Take a look at this example of the training offered in this video from Ford:
Hopefully, programs like this one will help reduce the amount of teen driving accidents that we see, not just for their sake but also for the sake of all drivers sharing the road with them.