With so many factors contributing to car accidents today, it is essential that all parents discuss with their teen strategies on how to improve their driving and why they should always be cautious and careful when behind the wheel of a vehicle. In recent news, Fox 59 reported that a teen girl was killed in a car accident after her vehicle “crossed the centerline while traveling southbound on SR 109 near Gilmore Rd.” She crashed into another vehicle traveling in the northbound direction and was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The news source highlighted that the driver of the vehicle in which the teen girl hit was being driven by 47-year-old Timothy Newland. He was transported to the hospital although his injuries were said to have been non-life-threatening. Police did not disclose what caused the teen driver to veer into a lane where traffic was traveling in the opposite direction, however, there are a number of reasons why this wreck could have occurred.
Now, because “crashes are still the leading cause of teen deaths,” it is important that as a parent who has a teen who is now driving that you review with them some of the risk factors that increase their chances of engaging in a collision [Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]. Below we discuss what some of these factors are.
Risk factors that Increase the Likelihood of a Teen Engaging in an Accident
- A lack of experience. Teen drivers, whether they have been behind the wheel for a few months or a few years, lack experience. This means they may “drive at unsafe speeds and maintain shorter following distances, especially with friends aboard” [Source: AAP News & Journal]. A teen with a lack of experience may also take their eyes off the road, drive with one hand as opposed to driving with both, and allow their attention to divert from driving. Teens also allow certain distractions to interfere with their driving which puts them at more risk of causing a collision.
- Alcohol and illegal drug use. Although teens are not legally permitted to consume alcohol nor are they allowed to take drugs, many do. Both alcohol and drugs mixed with inexperience makes for a rather dangerous ride and puts your teen at a higher risk of engaging in a crash. And while your teen might not be the drunk driver behind the wheel, they might be traveling with friends who are which puts them just as much at risk as they would have been had they been driving themselves. Did you know that since 1991, “the percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has increased by more than 54% [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)]? The CDC also reported that one in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives which means the issue is real and should be discussed with your teen driver.
- Sleep deprivation. According to AAP News & Journals, “sleep deprivation also is an emerging factor in motor vehicle crashes, as most U.S. teens do not get enough sleep.” In today’s society, driving while fatigued is almost as dangerous as driving while impaired and should be avoided at all costs.
As repetitive as you may think you sound reminding your teen time and time again why they need to be cautious while driving and aware of the risk factors that increase their chances of engaging in a crash, it must be done. Too many teen lives are affected by car accidents and in order to begin seeing a reduction in the number of collisions that occur, teens need to be more aware of how they drive and must be willing to work to improve their driving skills.
Now, if your teen was recently involved in a car crash in Hammond or Gary, IN, whether they were at fault or not, we encourage you to contact Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC. Gary, IN car accident attorney Marshall P. Whalley can help you and your teen understand what your legal rights are and if you’re entitled to collect compensation for the injuries sustained. Many collisions involving teens often result in serious property damage and severe injuries so if you want to stand a chance at collecting what you are rightfully due, we suggest you contact our office as soon as possible.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, PC can be reached at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN 46307