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Maureen May
Maureen May
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Teen Drivers Back in School and on the Road: 3 Things to Watch For

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Now that the school year is back in full swing and students have settled in, there is a lot more running back and forth to class, practices, sporting events, and other extra-curricular activities. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are approximately three times more likely (per mile driven) to be killed in an automobile accident than drivers over 20, for a variety of reasons.

Lack of Seat Belt Use

Although the use of seat belts should be non-negotiable, experts say that 55 percent of teens 16-19 who were involved in fatal car crashes were not wearing seat belts. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use – in 2013, only 55 percent of high school students reported that they always wear their seatbelt when riding with someone else.

The Propensity for Speeding

It is well-known fact that teen drivers speed more often than their adult counterparts, and are also much less likely to allow a safe following distance between their car and the one in front of them. Speeding actually increases the stopping distance necessary to avoid a collision, and also increases the likelihood that the crash will result in injuries.

Teens are Often Distracted Drivers

Distracted driving is a problem for anyone who operates a motor vehicle, but teenagers are more prone to it, simply because they are less experienced drivers. When a teenage driver is focused on something besides driving, whether it’s a cell phone, his passengers, the radio, or a GPS device, he’s putting others on the road at risk.

According to the National Safety Council, no state has laws strong enough to completely protect teen drivers from accidents, making family rules regarding passengers, driving at night, wearing seat belts, and cell phone use essential in helping prevent injuries.