Car Crashes Are #1 Teen Killer in Texas
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, car crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths. Further, AAA says that Texas has more summertime crash deaths involving teen drivers than any other state.
Teen Car Crash Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a recent year:
2,400 teens were killed in car accidents
258,000 teens were treated in emergency departments for motor vehicle accident injuries
More than 7,000 people died in teen driving-related summertime crashes for the most recent decade reported.
Nearly 30 percent of Texas accidents occur during the summer.
Texas teen drivers were involved in more fatal motor vehicle accidents than teens in any other state.
For the most recent decade reported, there were 2,318 deaths on Texas roadways involving teen drivers.
The 100 deadliest days for teen driving fatalities occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
New teen drivers age 16-17 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults.
Parents May Not Realize the Risks
Some parents do not realize the risk their teen drivers may face, which can leave them ill-equipped for dangers on the road.
According to the CDC, the biggest risk factor for teen drivers include:
Driver inexperience –Teen drivers are more likely to underestimate or be unable to recognize dangerous situations. They are also more likely to make critical decision errors that result in serious crashes.
Driving with teen passengers –The risk of a car crash increases with the presence of a teen passenger and continues to increase along with the number of teen passengers.
Nighttime driving –40 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teen drivers and passengers occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Not wearing seat belts –The Texas Department of Transportation reports that more than 42 percent of Texas teens killed in motor vehicle accidents in a recent year were not wearing seat belts. Teens and young adults have the lowest seat belt use rate. 43.1 percent of U.S. high school students reported in a survey that they did not always wear a seat belt when riding in a car driven by someone else.
Distracted driving –39 percent of surveyed teen drivers admitted they texted or emailed while driving at least once during the last 30 days.
Drowsy driving –Teen drivers might not be able to recognize signs of drowsy driving.
Reckless driving –Teens are more likely to speed and allow less distance between their vehicles and others.
Impaired driving –Impaired teen drivers have a much higher risk of being involved in a car crash than older drivers.
Graduated Driver License Programs
Make Teens Safer
At least 70 independent research studies have shown graduated driver license programs cut down on car crashes.
Texas’ Graduated Driver License program sets the following limits for teen drivers:
Drivers under age 18 must hold a valid learner license or minor restricted driver license for at least six months before obtaining a provisional license
Drivers with a provisional license cannot drive a vehicle with more than one passenger in the vehicle who is under the age of 21 and not a family member and cannot drive between midnight and 5:00 a.m., unless necessary for work
Drivers under age 18 are prohibited from using a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device
Resources for Teen Drivers
You can find plenty of information on safe driving practices at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Texas also has an 8-part video series called IMPACT Texas Teen Drivers that is required for all applicants who have taken a Teen Driver Education Course. TeenDriving.AAA.com has various tools to help parents and teen drivers understand and prepare for the risks of teen driving.
Practicing with your teen driver can also help make your teen better prepared for the road. Practice driving in riskier conditions, such as high-speed roads, bad weather, and during the night to develop their skills.