An understanding of how the number of teen crashes might be reduced begins with an understanding of how they happen.
In fact, during their first six months of solo driving, newly licenced drivers are about eight times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than more experienced drivers.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Just what is it about teenagers that make them prone to motor vehicle crashes?
Statisticians provided a framework on risk factors for teens, by describing five critical elements teens need to drive safely:
Whether or not these elements are all in place, teens are eager to drive, and their crash risk is particularly high in the first few months they are on the road, as well as when they travel at night, when teenage passengers are in the car, when they are driving too fast for conditions and when they have consumed alcohol.
Research shows that the risk of crashing is significantly elevated for teen drivers who have teenage passengers, particularly male passengers in the car. The presence of multiple passengers seems to magnify the risk of crashes, whether they are caused by driver error, speeding or alcohol consumption.
The emergency services sometimes refer to the front passenger seat of a car as the ‘sacrificial seat’. This is because just before a road traffic collision the driver’s instinct will often be to steer the vehicle away from the danger. As a result of this, the passenger side of the vehicle can take the full impact. This means that it is often the passenger and not the driver who is more seriously hurt, or killed.
It is important that from an early age, young children are aware of the dangers involved on the road, and know when to tell someone that they don’t feel safe. Make time to have that discussion with them.
Check out the ‘The Zoo Trip’ road safety video for primary school children. Produced by www.thehonesttruth.co.uk