Staying Safe Behind The Wheel – What factors put teen drivers at risk?
Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash and 26% had been drinking.
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2005, 10% of high school students reported they rarely or never wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
Male high school students (12.5%) were more likely than female students (7.8%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.
In 2008, 25% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 g/dl or higher.
In a national survey conducted in 2007, nearly three out of ten teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. One in ten reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.
In 2008, nearly three out of every four teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.
In 2008, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
The good news… All this is preventable. Staying safe behind the wheel of a car starts with the driver. Yes, you need to have a well-maintained car, but ultimately we all have a responsibility behind the wheel, not only to ourselves but for others on the road and to passengers.