Driver’s ed instructors work hard to stress just how dangerous driving is, especially for young people. In large part, they teach teen drivers about the dangers that come from inexperience and distraction. Unfortunately, it appears these lessons aren’t hitting home as much as they should be.
A recent study from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the risk of being involved in a fatal car accident is highest for drivers between the ages of 15 and 24. All told, these young drivers account for 22 percent of all auto accident fatalities.
The overall death rate is approximately 10.9 fatalities per 100,000 people. Sadly, it is even higher in southern cities. In fact, Memphis, Tennessee was highlighted in the study as being one of the most dangerous communities for young drivers.
Why Are So Many Teen Drivers Being Killed?
The study did not attempt to determine exactly why so many young drivers are being killed in car accidents. However, many experts say that the risk stems largely from the fact that young people are much more willing to engage in high-risk driving behavior. In particular, young people are more likely to drive at night, to carry passengers and to engage in distracting behaviors like texting while driving.
There are a number of ways to combat this trend. Many states, including Tennessee, have had success with graduated license programs that introduce teens to the responsibilities of driving over an extended period of time. However, government regulation is only half the battle. Parents also need to do their part to ensure teens understand the risks and consequences that come with poor driving behaviors.
Source: CBS News, “CDC: Fatal car crash risk highest among young drivers,” Ryan Jaslow, July 20, 2012.