National Teen Driving Week October 18 - 24

October 20, 2020 2:04pm

Teen Driver

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence. According to statistics provided by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), in 2018, there were 2,121 people killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a teen driver (15 to 18 years old), of which 719 deaths were the teen driver.

  • Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle; yet, many teens aren’t buckling up.  In 2018, almost half (45%) of the teen passenger vehicle drivers who died in these accidents were unbuckled. Even more troubling, when the teen driver involved in the fatal vehicle accident was not using their seat belt, nine out of 10 of the passengers who died were also unbuckled.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: All teens are too young to legally buy, consume or possess alcohol. However, nationally, in 2018, 16% of teen drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents had alcohol present in their body; but, alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep teens from driving safely. Like other drugs, marijuana affects a driver’s ability to react to their surroundings. Please remind teens that driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences.
  • Speeding: In 2018, almost one-quarter (28%) of all teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal vehicle accident were speeding at the time of the accident, and males were more likely to be involved than females.
  • Drowsy Driving: Teens are busier than ever: studying, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and spending time with friends are among the long list of things they do to occupy their time. However, with all of these activities, teens tend to compromise something very important—sleep. This is a dangerous habit that can lead to drowsy driving or falling asleep while driving a motor vehicle.
  • Distracted Driving 4
    Distracted Driving: Distractions while driving are more than just risky—they can also be deadly. In 2018, among teen drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents, almost 10%, were reported as distracted at the time. The use of mobile devices while driving is a big problem, but there are other causes of teen distracted driving which pose dangers as well: adjusting the radio, applying makeup, eating or drinking, or distractions from other passengers in the vehicle are just some examples.
  • Passengers: Teen drivers transporting passengers can lead to disastrous results. Research shows the risk of a fatal motor vehicle accident goes up in direct relation to the number of passengers in the vehicle. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

According to the NHSA, in 2019, Iowa lost 39 young drivers between the ages of 14 – 20 in motor vehicle accidents. Seven of those drivers had a blood alcohol over the legal limit. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau encourages you to talk to your teen drivers about safe driving practices.