How to Reduce the Risk of Your Teenager Being In a Car Accident
Every parent dreads the call that their child has been in a car accident. It is well known that teenagers are significantly more likely to be in a fatal car wreck compared to any other age group. Here are some shocking statistics about teenager car accidents:
- approximately 2,400 teenagers die every year in car accidents
- 7 teenagers die every day in a car accident
- 270,000 teenagers are treated in emergency rooms for car accident injuries every year
So how can you reduce the risk of your teenager being in a car accident?
The statistics on teenager car accidents make a few things clear. If you can have your teenager reduce the frequency of these behaviors, their odds of being in a serious wreck will go down significantly.
Driving with More than One Passenger
According to a study in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention, the risk of a teenage driver being in a fatal accident increased by 44% when riding with a teenage passenger as opposed to driving alone.
However, the risk of fatality doubled when there were two teenager passengers and quadrupled when there were three or more teenage passengers.
Statistics don’t lie. If you want to reduce the risk of your teenager being in a car accident, limit them to having one passenger. When there are more than two teenagers in a car, the likelihood of a fatal wreck skyrockets.
Driving At Night on Weekends
The statistics also show which days and at what times teenagers are most likely to be in a fatal car accident. 40% of teenage fatal car wrecks occur after 9pm and 52% of such wrecks occur on the weekends. Combining those two data points, we know that nighttime driving on weekends for teenagers is especially dangerous.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt
One survey conducted in conjunction with the CDC found that 43% of teenagers reported not always wearing a seatbelt. Almost half (48%) of the teenagers who died in a car wrecks in 2019 were not wearing a seatbelt.
How Can A Parent Limit These Behaviors?
First and foremost — set a good example. Always use a seatbelt and always require every passenger to wear theirs. Instill this habit into your children even before they are of driving age. Do not drive while using your cell phone, do not speed, and always obey traffic signals.
Second, your goal should be to avoid the statistical nightmare of 3+ teenagers in a vehicle, especially at nighttime. To accomplish this, take these steps:
- Make clear to your teenager that he or she should never ride in a vehicle with more than one other teenager.
- Make clear to your child that riding in a vehicle with two or more teenagers at nighttime is immediate grounds for loss of a privilege.
- Tell your teenager that if such a situation arises to call you or a family member.
- Always be willing to pick up your teenager in such a situation. Praise them and reward them for calling you.
Another important step is to reduce these ground rules to writing. The CDC has developed a template Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, which you can print and customize.
Having written, black and white rules, that are agreed upon between parent and child, will help communicate to your teenager the importance of the rules. If the teenager breaks one of the rules in the Agreement, it is immediate grounds for loss of a privilege.
Don’t let your teenager become a statistic. Take action now before it’s too late.