Keeping Teens Safer on the Road

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 constitute only 6.7 percent of all drivers on the road during a typical year; however, teens in this age range are involved in 14 percent of fatal crashes in the U.S. The higher risks associated with teenage driving have prompted higher car insurance rates for this age group and have led to increased restrictions on driving for younger teens. Higher penalties for traffic violations are also in place in many areas and are intended to provide a deterrent to unsafe driving practices in this at-risk age group. Cost-saving strategies that include obtaining auto and home insurance coverage from the same provider can provide some financial relief for parents and teen drivers. In Texas practicing safer driving habits, however, remains the most effective way to keep Katy auto insurance costs down and to reduce the risks associated with teen drivers.

The Dangers of Inattentive Driving

Even a momentary loss of attention can result in a catastrophic automobile accident. Due to their relative inexperience on the roads, teen drivers are at significantly higher risk for this dangerous activity. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that 3,328 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents; texting and cell phone use are involved in many of these incidents. According to DOT figures, 11 percent of all fatal crashes involving drivers under 20 years of age are the result of distracted driving. A 2009 Pew Research Center study found that among teens aged 12 to 17; nearly half have been in a car in which the driver was texting while driving. The same study indicated the following:

  • Over one-third of drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 who owned cell phones admitted to texting while driving.
  • More than half of that same group had engaged in verbal conversations on their cell phones while behind the wheel.
  • Also more than three-fourths of all U.S. teens own cell phones, this constitutes a serious issue for parents, teenagers and other drivers on the road.

Turning the cell phone off before starting the engine is a solid first step to preventing distracted driving among teens and adults alike. Cell phones are not the only risk factors in distracted driving; loud noises, rowdy passengers and other issues can also play a role in accidents caused by inattentive driving.

Never Drink and Drive

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to serious legal consequences as well as increased risk of injury or death in a motor vehicle accident. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has compiled a number of statistics regarding the risks of teenage driving, including the following:

  • Teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash compared to their adult counterparts.
  • Fatality accident statistics collected in 2010 indicated that 30 percent of male teen drivers and 22 percent of female drivers had blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or higher, well above the legal limit in most areas.

Information available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that more than half of the teen drivers killed in 2010 in alcohol-related incidents were not wearing their seat belts, making a bad situation even worse.

The Importance of Seat Belts

Many states and municipal areas require the use of seat belts by passengers and drivers on the road. According to CDC statistics, just over half of all high school students surveyed indicated that they always wore seat belts when riding in a motor vehicle. This is the lowest compliance rate for any demographic in the survey. Seat belts can provide protection for teenagers in the event of a crash and can prevent drivers from receiving a ticket for failure to comply with this legal requirement.

A number of other factors can play a role in determining the safety of teens on the road. Driving practice or professional driving lessons can provide much-needed experience for novice drivers and can often result in discounts on insurance as well. Choosing a practical car with solid safety features can also reduce insurance costs and can help teens develop a more responsible attitude toward their time on the open road.



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