Teen drivers are the most at risk for getting into accidents all over the country, including New York. Based on findings by AAA, nearly one million teen drivers were involved in police-reported car accidents. These accidents resulted in over 300,000 injuries and close to 3,000 deaths.
Some researchers believe that the actual number of teen driving accidents is higher than this, considering the fact that many go unreported. Dr. Kaluer, a research scientist at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, reported that his team believes 25 percent of teenagers will be involved in an accident within their first six months on the roadways.
The problem is clear, but coming up with solutions can be difficult. Cell phones are responsible for many accidents, but studies have shown that driving with other passengers is also a major cause of teen accidents.
One non-familial passenger in a teen’s car can increase the rate of accidents by 44 percent. The rate goes up with each additional passenger. Some states implement “graduated driver’s licenses,” which allows teens to go from learner’s permits to a six-month intermediate phrase to a full permit.
States regulate the number of non-relatives allowed to sit in a teen driver’s care during the early stages of the license acquiring process. Nonetheless, once the regulations expire, parents often allow their kids to drive with their friends. Experts suggest that parents continue to restrict the passengers in their teen’s vehicle, even if the government does not.
As mentioned earlier, cell phones also cause a number of accidents among teens. Studies reveal that teens are more likely to use their phones while behind the wheel than any other age group. Teens often insist on using their phones for music or for navigation purpose. In such cases, experts recommend putting the phone at eye level in a dock on the dashboard, instead of the cup holder or lap. Looking away from the road for any more than two seconds at a time has proven to be dangerous. Teens who have driven under the influence of alcohol have also caused a number of accidents.
In any case, it is evident that teen drivers are a risk to themselves and other motorists. New York parents are advised to closely monitor their young drivers, but sadly, many accidents will still occur, even with parental involvement.
Source: The New York Times, “Teenage Drivers? Be Very Afraid,” Bruce Feiler, March 19, 2016