The statistics available on teen motorists are both eye opening and sobering. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in the nation. New drivers are four times more likely to be killed and 14 times more likely to be injured than any other group. By a 2-to-1 margin, teens are more likely to kill someone with them than themselves.
The main causes of crashes amongst publicized teen fatalities were speed and inexperience. Alcohol, failure to wear a seat belt, and emotional distractions such as peer pressure and lack of sleep also often play parts in both fatal and non-fatal crashes. Passenger and time restrictions are in place to decrease the likelihood of youth being involved in vehicle crashes. This is why enforcement of these rules starts at home. You cannot rely on the police to be the sole protectors of children on the roadways. Parents and guardians must set and enforce the rules of the road.
Driver training starts much younger than 16. Children observe the driving habits of those around them early on and often put these practices into place when it is his or her turn to get behind the wheel. Set a strong example by being a responsible driver and reinforce good driving habits.
Parents/Guardians need to ensure that their teens are ready to meet this challenge through preparation and an open line of communication. No child under 18 can obtain a driver’s license without their parents approval, so a parent should feel free to set a higher driving age if appropriate to the maturity and experience of each child.
In 2005, the following number of original licenses were issued to Massachusetts teens:
|Driver’s Age||# of Original Licenses Issued|
2005 Statistics on violations by Massachusetts’s junior operators by violation:
|Type of Violation||Number of Citations||% Found Responsible||% Found Not Responsible|
Massachusetts Junior Operator Crash Data for the year 2004
|Age||Number of Licensed Drivers||Number of Crashes||Number of Fatalities||% of Drivers Involved in Crashes|
National Car Accident Statistics:
- Two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash (CDC 2004).
- In 2002, more than 5,000 teens ages 16 to 19 died of injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes (CDC 2004).
- The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19 year olds than among any other age group. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash (IIHS 2005).
- In 2003, teenagers accounted for 10% of the U.S. population and 13% of motor vehicle crash deaths (IIHS 2005).
- In 2002, the estimated economic cost of police-reported crashes (both fatal and nonfatal – involving drivers ages 15 to 20 was $40.8 billion (NHTSA 2003).
Source: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles