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Teen Driving Risk Factors

Nearly half of all teen deaths in the United States are due to accidental injuries, and 73% of those are due to automobile accidents1. We don’t want your teen to join that statistic. That’s why, at National General Insurance, we want to educate you about the risks teens are facing behind the wheel. Knowing these risk factors will help you, as parents, to set guidelines for your teens as they start to drive on their own.
 
Don't Text and Drive

Texting and Driving

Texting and driving is the ultimate distraction. It distracts visually, physically (hands off the wheel), and mentally from the road. As a result, those who text and drive are 23 times likelier to get into an accident2. Unfortunately, even though it’s dangerous and many states have banned texting and driving, teens will often ignore the ban. As a parent, it may be a good idea to make a “no-cell-phone-while-driving” rule with your teen driver to promote safer driving practices. If you catch them texting while driving, you could restrict driving privileges to help enforce the lesson.
Don't Drink And Drive

Alcohol

In 2016 alone, more than 10,000 people died and an estimated 290,000 were injured due to drunk driving crashes3. It is a very real threat, especially to teens. One in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives4. If your teen decides to get drunk, he or she will be 17 times likelier to die in a crash4. Please talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving. Also encourage your teen not to get in the car with anyone who has been drinking. Learn how to spot impaired drivers here.
Other Teens

Other Teens

The chance of teenage drivers dying in a crash increases with every additional teenage passenger in the car5. Other teens can be a distraction or can encourage risky driving behavior such as reckless driving, drunk driving or other unsafe activities. Limit the number of teen passengers your teen can have to zero or one, at least for the first six months on the road.
No Speeding

Speeding

Speeding increases the risk of an accident. Lack of driving experience reduces reaction time. When you combine these two factors, it can be a deadly combination. Indeed, speeding was a factor in about 31% of all traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2014, according to a study done by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)6. Speed matters. Encourage your teen to drive the speed limit.
Don't Drive When You're Drowsy

Drowsy Driving

A lack of sleep is a common problem for teens. As a result, teens have a high risk of drowsy driving. This is especially true for young men. Teen drivers are twice as likely to have a crash if they experience sleepiness while driving or reported having bad sleep7. Helping your teen get a good night’s sleep will protect him or her on the road.
Be Careful In Bad Weather

Bad Weather

Because teens are new drivers and lack driving experience, they may not respond well in bad weather. Wet roads, limited visibility, black ice and high winds can increase the likelihood of an accident. Although it is best to avoid these conditions all together, it is critical that teen drivers receive instruction on how to drive in inclement weather before they experience it firsthand. Let your teen know how to drive on ice and in the rain before it happens.
Limit Driving At Night

Time of Day

In 2015, 48% of car crashes that resulted in teen deaths happened between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight, and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday8. If you limit night driving with a curfew, you could protect your teen from undue risk.
Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Failure to Use a Seatbelt

Make sure your teen wears his or her seatbelt. Tell your teen not to start driving until everyone in the vehicle has on a seatbelt. In 2016 alone, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,668 lives9. It could be a life-saving decision.
Practice Driving Avoid Anxiety

Anxiety

Inexperienced drivers may be anxious about a particular intersection or activity, such as merging onto the highway. In these cases, the more often you guide your teen through these scenarios, the less stressful it will be when your teen drives through these alone.


 

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1 Miniño AM. Mortality among teenagers aged 12-19 years: United States, 1999-2006. NCHS data brief, no 37. Hyattsville, MD: National Center
for Health Statistics. 2010. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db37.htm
 
2 Olson, R.L., R.J. Hanowski, J.S. Hickman, and J. Bocanegra. 2009. Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operation. Center for Truck and Bus Safety.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Blacksburg, VA. www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Driver-Distraction-Commercial-Vehicle-Operations.pdf
 
3 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2016: Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2017. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812450
 
4 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2012). Teen Drinking and Driving. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/teendrinkinganddriving/index.html
 
5 Simon, R. (2012). Los Angeles Times. “Teen drivers who travel with friends at higher risk for fatal crash.”
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/08/nation/la-na-nn-teen-drivers-20120508
 
6 Walker, A. (2017) Curbed. “U.S. traffic death increase caused by speeding, says new study.”
https://www.curbed.com/2017/7/28/16051780/us-traffic-death-speeding-statistics-speeding
 
7 Pizza, F., Contardi, S. Baldi Antognini, A. Zagoraiou, M, Borrotti, M., et al. (2010). Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. “Sleep Quality and Motor Vehicle Crashes in Adolescents.” http://jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=27708
 
8 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “Fatality Facts: Teenagers 2015.” http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers
 
9 National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2017). https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts