Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers across the United States, killing upwards of 6,000 children between the ages of 16 and 20 every year. The reasons behind these tragedies are varied, but often include lack of skill, risk-taking, distractions, driving with passengers, and driving at night. Research has demonstrated that both restricting the times when teenagers drive as well as how many passengers they carry can reduce the frequency of accidents.
The Canadian-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation conducted a study comparing accidents involving 16-year old drivers. For the year 2002, the foundation compared the number of accidents in Oregon and the number in Ontario. For teenage drivers, Oregon limited unsupervised nighttime driving as well as the number of passengers allowed while Ontario did not carry such prohibitions.
The results of this study were enlightening. Oregon teen drivers accounted for 20 percent fewer accidents than their counterparts in Ontario. Some analysts point to these statistics as evidence that restrictions safe lives and further argue for graduated driver licensing programs. Such programs would put certain limits on news drivers. For example, Oregon prohibits unsupervised driving between midnight and 5 a.m. for entry-level drivers and prevents drivers from having passengers under age 20 during the first six months of receiving a driver’s license. In the United States, these programs vary widely from state to state.
In a separate study, researchers conducted phone interviews with 1,000 teens and their parents in Oregon and British Columbia. Thirty percent of teenagers who abided passenger restriction rules had never been in an accident, while 84 percent of teenagers who were involved in crashes indicated that they violated passenger restriction rules. The research suggests that having too many friends in the car increases the likelihood that a young driver will be distracted and have an accident.
At Florida Trial MD, we are well acquainted with the often devastating results of a teenage car accident. As parents, we want to encourage safer driving habits amongst all our community’s children. Accidents will happen, but informed parents can help teenage drivers reduce the risk of being in harm’s way.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us online or call 407-244-1212 (Toll Free at 800-381-8299) to speak with our experienced staff.