Car accidents number one cause of unintentional deaths for teens

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- For teens learning how to drive and getting their license can be viewed as a source of freedom, for parents it can be a source of anxiety or fear. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America, according to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

The same is also true in New York where car accidents are also the number one cause of unintentional deaths for teens ages 16-17, with unsafe speed being the top contributing factor, says the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24. According to the NYSDOH, 16 drivers between the ages of 16-17 were killed in 2014. That number rose slightly to 18 in 2016, according to data provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driver distraction includes driver inattention/distraction, passenger distraction, cell phone (handheld), cell phone (hands-free), other electronic devices, and outside car distraction.
Source: NYSDOH

NYSDOH facts about teen driving

  • About 10 people a day are seen in a hospital with injuries sustained in a car accident involving a teen driver.
  • Demographics most at risk from accidents involving teen drivers: newly licensed teens, male teen drivers, teen passengers aged 16-20, and child passengers aged seven to 15.
  • Teen drivers spend approximately more than five days in the hospital for car accident-related injuries.
  • Teen drivers are more at risk due to inexperience, drowsy driving, improper seat belt use, impaired driving, distracted driving, and using an unsafe speed.
  • Teen drivers involved in accidents resulting in incapacitation or death are found at fault 78% of the time.

Multiple websites including that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DOT, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute say one of the best ways to prevent a tragedy is to speak with teens about the risks and teaching them how to make good decisions like how to follow traffic laws properly.

New York also has a Graduated License Law with restrictions for teen drivers under the age of 18. Driving privileges are different for the Upstate Region, New York City, and Long Island. Detailed upstate junior learner permit restrictions and junior license restrictions can be found on the Department of Motor Vehicle’s website.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute has also made it easy for teens to get information that will help them stay safe by creating an online resource with guidance on how to properly adjust mirrors, entering and exiting a highway, lane changing, and maneuvering through intersections.

Parents who need help talking with their teens about safe driving skills can find more information on the Travelers Insurance website.

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