driversí crashes differ:
Compared with older driversí fatal crashes, those of 16 year-olds more often
involve driver error.
drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes in which excessive speed is a
16 year-oldsí fatal crashes involve only the teenís vehicle. Typically these are
high-speed crashes in which the driver lost control.
Sixteen year-oldsí fatal crashes
are more likely to occur when passengers are riding in the vehicle. This risk
increases with the addition of every passenger.
Although this is a problem among
drivers of all ages, itís actually less of a problem for 16 year olds.
Typically, about 15 percent of fatally injured 16-year-old drivers have blood
alcohol concentrations of 0.08 percent or more, but alcohol becomes more of a
problem in later teen years.
This is a high-risk activity
for beginners. Per mile driven, the nighttime fatal crash rate of 16 year olds
is about twice as high at night compared with during the day.
Low belt use:
Most teenagers who are killed
in crashes arenít using their safety belts.
16 - 17 year-old driver
fatal crash characteristics
Teenagers perceive a driverís license as a ticket to freedom. Itís momentous for
parents, too. Though they often are aware of 16 year-oldsí high crash risks,
theyíre relieved not to have to chauffeur their children around anymore. But the
price is steep. Crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens,
accounting for more than onethird of all deaths of 16 to 18 year-olds.
With or without a strong graduated licensing law, parents can establish
effective rules. In particular:
Become familiar with
restrictions on young drivers. Enforce the rules. To learn about the law in your
state, go to
Pa. State graduated driver licensing. .
Most young driversí
nighttime fatal crashes occur from 9 p.m. to midnight, so teens shouldnít drive
much later than 9. The problem isnít just that such driving requires more skill.
Late outings tend to be recreational, and even teens who usually follow the
rules can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks.
Teen passengers in a
vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risktaking. About
6 of every 10 teenage passenger deaths occur in crashes with teen drivers.While
night driving with passengers is particularly lethal, many fatal crashes with
teen passengers occur during the day. The best policy is to restrict teen
passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time.
Take an active
role in helping your teenager learn to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions
in a wide variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to
work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic or on the freeway.
Supervised practice should be spread over at least 6 months and continue even
after a teenager graduates from a learnerís permit to a restricted or full
Donít assume that
belt use when youíre in the car with your 16 year-old means a belt will be used
when your child is driving alone or out with peers. Insist on using belts all
Teenagers should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer
protection in case they do crash. For example, small cars donít offer the best
protection in a crash. Avoid vehicles with performance images that might
encourage speeding. Vehicles with the latest safety technologies, especially
side airbags that protect peopleís heads and electronic stability control, are
the best ones to choose.