In our country, the leading cause of death for teenagers is vehicle crashes. Worse yet, 6 teens ages 16-19 die every day from vehicle injuries. This statistic hurts. Teens are inexperienced and are unable to recognize dangerous or hazardous situations. Among male drivers between 18 to 20 years old who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 35% were speeding and 25% had been drinking. In 2013, 17% of drivers aged 16 to 20 had a BAC of 0.08% or higher in fatal motor vehicle crashes. These statistics mean that the most inexperienced drivers in our country are taking the biggest risks.
Fortunately, teen automobile accidents are preventable:
In South Carolina, wearing a Seat Belt is no longer an option, it is the law. Of the teens that died in passenger vehicle crashes approximately 56% were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash. It is important that teens understand that Seat Belts save lives.
Our state has also passed laws against texting and driving. 77% of young adults and teens believe that they can safely text and drive. This is unlikely since 23% of all vehicle crashes in 2011 involved cell phones. Teens need to be aware that taking their eyes off of the road is dangerous.
Zero Tolerance laws are in place in order to enforce the minimum legal drinking age. For anyone under the age of 21 it is against the law to drink any amount of alcohol and drive.
Educate teens on the leading causes of automobile accidents. Parents can find more information on how to keep teens safe on the road at www.cdc.gov/ParentsAreTheKey .