Teen Driver Safety

Traffic Safety: Keeping Teens Safe behind the Wheel

It’s not surprising that motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among our youth. Motorists need to realize that driving is a privilege, not a right, and it brings with it a tremendous responsibility to exercise good judgment. That includes the responsibility to stay alcohol- and drug-free, each and every time you get behind the wheel.

Driver Safety

Teen motor vehicle crashes can be prevented, and statistics indicate that the annual number of drivers aged 16 or 17 years involved in fatal crashes decreased 36 percent from 2004 to 2008 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2010). While this is promising, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teens; per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a crash (CDC, 2009).

Many factors influence teens' crash risk and likelihood for injury or death. These include driving ability, developmental factors, behavioral factors, personality factors, demographics, the perceived environment, and the driving environment (Shope & Bingham, 2008). For example, due to inexperience, teen drivers are more likely to take unnecessary risks including driving without a seatbelt, driving while distracted (e.g., texting, eating), and speeding. Situational factors such as driving at night, driving under the influence, and driving with other teenage passengers also place teens at higher risk (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2008). Prevention efforts to minimize the risk of deaths, injuries, and crashes related to teen driving need to be comprehensive and take into account the complex factors that influence driving. Some, including stronger seat belt laws and graduated driver licensing (GDL), have shown evidence of improving teen driver safety.

 

View ReferencesReferences

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2009). Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2010). Drivers Aged 16 or 17 Years Involved in Fatal Crashes—United States, 2004–2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 59(41), 1329-1334. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5941a2.htm?s_cid=mm5941a2_e

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Office of Behavioral Safety Research. (2008). Teen driver crashes: A report to Congress. Washington, DC: Compton, R. P., & Ellison-Potter, P.

Shope, J. T., & Bingham, C. R. (2008).Teen driving: Motor-vehicle crashes and factors that contribute. American Journal of Prevention Medicine, 35(3S, S261-S271).

 

National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS)

The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) began in 1994 and is a coalition of national organizations, business leaders, and federal agencies focused on youth engagement and the promotion of health and safety for youth.

Key components that support the structure of NOYS include the following

  • Board of directors
  • Meetings and communication
  • Working groups

The collaboration’s best practices include

Texting and Driving: A National Epidemic

This article discusses the origins of texting and driving, what age groups are most at risk for texting and driving, the dangers of texting and driving, and texting laws by state. 

Car Resources: Teen Driving Page

This website links to multiple articles that provide guidance for teens and parents on how teenagers can operate motor vehicles safely.

Impaired Driving Resources

Provides statistics and resources on impaired driving.