Teen Driving Safety: Car Accidents Still Leading Cause of Death For Teens
Teen driving continues to be the number one cause of death of teens. Are graduated licenses and distracted driving laws cutting down on teen accidents and deaths? The latest detailed data is from 2014. Teens accounted for 7% of deaths caused by car accidents, and 9% of all serious injuries. Any injury that prevents the victim from performing their day to day activities are considered serious injuries. These include things like severe cuts, concussions, internal injuries, and broken bones.
There were 67 teen fatalities caused by car accidents in the state of Illinois in 2014. Nearly half, 30, were driving at the time of the accident. 29 were occupants of vehicles, and seven of the deaths were pedestrians. Over half of the teens killed as passengers were riding with another teen, and teens contribute to about 17% of all passenger car accident fatalities.
622 teen drivers were injured in car crashes in 2014, as well as 372 passengers. 74 teen pedestrians were injured, as were 40 bicyclists.
Graduated License Effectiveness
Graduated licenses have brought about a 20% decrease in the number of fatalities for teen drivers and passengers. 16 year olds have the highest accident rate of any age group, and the first six months of driving are the most risky. These are the drivers most restricted by graduated license rules.
Graduated License Rules
The first step for a teen is getting a driving permit. A teen must complete a driver’s education course. They must have their parent certify that they have completed 50 hours of driving practice, with at least 10 hours of night driving. All driving must be supervised by a parent or an adult over 21 years of age. They must have the permit for a minimum of 9 months before they are eligible for their license. Use of cell phones, including hands free devices, is prohibited except in emergencies.
Once the teen acquires their actual driver’s license, there are still restrictions. They aren’t allowed to drive after 10 p.m. on Sundays – Thursdays and after 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For one year after the teen acquires the license, or until they turn 18, they are only allowed to have one person under 20 years old in the vehicle. Only drivers who have a ticket free record for at least six months prior to turning 18 qualify for an unrestricted license.