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Is Your Teen Safe on the Road?

I can remember the feeling of freedom when I finally got my driver’s license. No more having to catch a ride with mom to the movies or football games. I also remember my mother telling me to be careful every time I left the house. Of course at the age of 16 I just thought she was being over protective and worrying too much. Now that I’m older and deal with car accident victims daily, I see that she knew what she was talking about.

Teen drivers often feel as though they’re invincible. An accident would never happen to them, right? Wrong. Car crashes are actually the leading cause of death for teen’s ages 15 to 20 in the U.S. In 2012, 2,823 teens between the ages of 13 to 19 died in a car accident. 54% of teen passengers that died in an accident were being driven by another teen. The risk of a car accident driven by a teen increases tremendously with each additional passenger. Other statistics show that 2 out of 3 teens killed in car accidents are males, and about 53% of accidents involving teens take place from Friday to Sunday between the hours of 9pm and 6am. Staggeringly, nearly 50% of teen car crashes are single vehicle crashes. Drinking and driving is also a worrisome factor with 18% of male teen drivers and 10% of female teen drivers involved in a fatal crash having BAC’s over 0.08 percent.

Distracted driving at any age is dangerous, but is very common among teens. Talking on a cell phone while driving doubles the likelihood of being involved in a crash, and 56% of teens reported they use their phones while driving. Other distractions associated with teen car accidents include talking to passengers, looking at something in their vehicle, reaching for something in the vehicle, singing and dancing to music, and putting on make-up. These distractions account for 66% of car accidents with teen drivers, meaning 66% of teen crashes could easily be avoided.

While these statistics are alarming, hopefully they will be eye opening to both teen drivers and their parents. Teen drivers don’t have to be a statistic. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with the Polk County School Board and understands the importance of keeping teens educated about driving. They are putting on a free 12 hour course called the Teen Driver Challenge for five weekends this year. The class is designed to educate teens about being safe on the road and avoiding fatal crashes. You can sign up for this course on the Polk County Sheriff’s Office website. If you do find yourself a victim to a car accident, don’t hesitate to give us a call and see how we can help you.

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