As we know, teens begin to drive at a young age – younger than you can vote, younger than you can enroll in the military, and younger than the age of consent. So, when teenagers, who are really just young kids, are entrusted with a car and a life or death situation, the outcome isn’t always positive. 16% of teen drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents were distracted by using cell phones, whether it is texting, taking photos, or checking their social media pages. From age 20-29 the rate jumps to 34%. Bad habits start young and quickly accelerate.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash is much higher when inexperienced drivers, like teens, are doing a secondary task that is coupled with the stress of driving. This could be anything else that distracts the driver from the road, whether it be eating, drinking, texting, adjusting the music, or other tasks within the vehicle.
Teens are also at a higher risk of being involved in a fatal car accident than adult drivers, with those of a young age being less experienced at driving in various situations, and more likely to engage in risky behaviors. As we know, teens can be impulsive and easily influenced by others in their life – especially other teenagers. Teenagers drive to events together, go to the movies, carpool to sporting events, and drive to parties. When other passengers are distracting or influencing the driver to engage in other activities besides focusing on the road, this can be potentially fatal for everyone involved.
Even if texting or changing the music isn’t the main culprit of a crash, the teen can get distracted by something else in the car, with the main distraction being adjusting the audio controls, coming in at over 6% of the 15% who crash due to distracted driving.