It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to find out a child has been involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, auto accidents are the main cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, more than 2,600 teenagers were killed and almost 292,000 were injured in car accidents throughout the U.S. To try to raise awareness of this preventable danger, Congress has designated the third week of October as National Teen Driver Safety Week in Massachusetts and every other state.
During National Teen Driver Safety Week, many communities across the country will be participating in awareness activities and other efforts to keep families from experiencing the devastation of losing a child in a car accident. State Farm, which worked with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2007 to promote the designation of National Teen Driver Safety Week, is one of the many companies involved in getting teens to recognize the importance of safe driving habits.
Some of the common factors that can make driving so dangerous for teenagers include:
- Inexperienced teens not recognizing hazardous situations.
- The presence of passengers and peer pressure encouraging risky driving behavior, especially among teenage boys.
- The low instances of seat belt use among teenagers.
- Alcohol and substance use while driving.
- Distractions, particularly texting and driving.
Since teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than older drivers, it is to be hoped that this important safety topic will make a difference and save lives.