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Study Shows Teen Driving Fatalities Are on the Rise

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), teen traffic fatalities over the first six months of 2011 increased considerably from the year 2010. In fact, deaths of 16-year-olds increased 16 percent to 93 fatalities and deaths of 17-year-olds increased seven percent to 118. This increase goes against the recent trend of decreasing teenage fatalities since the adoption of graduation driver licensing systems.

Nationwide, between January and June of 2010, there were 190 teen drivers aged 16 and 17 killed in passenger vehicle accidents. During that same period in the year 2011, there were 211 deaths. Nevada is one of only a few states that were able to avoid fatal car accidents involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers in the first half of 2010 or 2011. Most states had fatalities in both years and 23 states saw an increase from the year 2010 to 2011.

Driving is a significant milestone for teenagers, but it also comes with great responsibility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. As a result, it’s essential for parents, driving instructors, and teens themselves to take steps to ensure safer driving practices. Here are some ways teens can be safer while driving:

Buckle Up

Seatbelts are a crucial safety feature of any vehicle. They save lives, and it’s essential for teens to always wear them while driving or riding in a car. Teenagers are more likely to be involved in accidents, and seatbelts can reduce the severity of injuries in a crash.

Avoid Distractions

Distractions while driving are a significant problem, especially for young drivers. Teens should avoid using their phone, eating, drinking, or engaging in any other activity that can take their eyes and focus off the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that texting while driving is six times more dangerous than drunk driving.

Observe Speed Limits

Speeding is a leading cause of accidents among teenage drivers. Teenagers often have a sense of invincibility and tend to push the limits of their driving skills. However, they need to be reminded that driving too fast can lead to loss of control, increased stopping distances, and less time to react to unexpected events on the road.

Stay Focused on the Road

Teens should always keep their eyes on the road and avoid distractions inside and outside the car. They should stay alert for any potential hazards, such as pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles, and adjust their speed and driving accordingly.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

Defensive driving courses can teach teens how to react to various situations on the road and develop good driving habits. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving courses.

Limit the Number of Passengers

Teenagers tend to drive with friends in the car, but this can be a distraction and increase the risk of an accident. In fact, the risk of a fatal accident increases with each additional passenger in the car. It’s essential to limit the number of passengers to one or two, especially during the first year of driving.

Plan Ahead

Teens should plan their route and allow plenty of time to get to their destination. They should avoid rushing, which can lead to reckless driving and increased risks. Planning ahead can also help teens avoid distractions such as using their phone to find directions while driving.

Avoid Driving Under the Influence

Drinking and driving is a major problem for teenage drivers. According to the CDC, one in ten high school students drinks and drives, and teens are more likely to be involved in alcohol-related crashes than older drivers. It’s essential for teens to avoid drinking and driving or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

Communicate with Parents and Driving Instructors

Parents and driving instructors can provide valuable guidance to teenagers and help them develop good driving habits. It’s essential for teens to communicate openly with their parents and instructors about any concerns they have or any situations that they feel uncomfortable with.

According to the report, the dangers of teenage driving cannot be minimized. Parents need to do their part to encourage safe driving habits. This not only includes obeying the speed limit, but also turning off cell phones, limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle, setting curfews for teen drivers, and inspiring safe habits by leading by example.

If your teenager has been injured in a car accident, or if you have been hurt by a teen driver, please contact the experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Shook & Stone. Please call us at 702-570-0000 for a free and comprehensive consultation.

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