Driving a car means freedom, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility and risk. For some teenagers, it can be difficult to fully appreciate that risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenage drivers are more likely than older drivers to make critical errors that result in serious crashes. For example, they are more likely to speed and less likely to keep a safe distance between vehicles. Young people ages 15 to 19 make up slightly more than 6 percent of the population. Yet, the CDC reports that in 2016, they were responsible for 8.4 percent ($13.6 billion) of total motor vehicle injury costs.
While teens present a greater danger behind the wheel than adults, more teens are taking preventive safety measures when they drive than ever before. In 1991, 25.9 percent of teens said they rarely wore their seat belt; today, that number is down to 5.9 percent. Similarly, drinking and driving among teens has improved over the years. From 2013 to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they drink and drive fell from 10 percent to 5.5 percent. Yet, it is important to note that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes when they do drink and drive.
~ Get the full story in today’s Journal ~