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Why are vehicle fatalities still so high for teens?

Recently-released data collected by the federal government should be concerning to parents of young drivers — not to mention those of us who share the road with them. It shows that the percentage of teens involved in fatal vehicle accidents rose by 10 percent in 2015.

A study by the Automobile Association of America listed the top three dangerous driving habits of teens:

— Speeding

— Distracted driving (including texting, talking on the phone and interacting with passengers)

— Poor scanning of their surroundings or failing to analyze conditions and situations

According to AAA, 4,200 out of 14,000 fatal crashes involving teens in the past five years involved excessive speeding.

Another recent study of teen drivers that was sponsored by the Ford Motor Co. noted that as many as a third of teens are waiting until they’re 18 to get their driver’s license. While it would seem that this could cut down on teen accidents, there are advantages to teens having to go through a graduated licensing system beginning at an earlier age.

These graduated systems, which limit things like the hours of day a teen can drive and whether they can drive without adult supervision, may cut the risk of crashes by as much as 30 percent. New York has junior learner’s permits and junior driver’s licenses available for teen drivers under 18.

Findings by AAA also laid some of the fault for teens’ bad driving habits at the feet of their parents. In a survey of driving instructors, nearly two-thirds said they believe that parents have been getting worse at teaching their teens how to drive.

The more rules parents set for their kids, the less likely they are to be involved in crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. However, this can be tricky when parents themselves often engage in unsafe behavior, such as texting or talking on the phone, while they’re behind the wheel.

If you’re involved in a crash that was caused by a teen driver who’s still a minor, it’s essential to determine what your options are for seeking compensation from the parents’ insurance company and potentially from the parents themselves. This can help cover the financial burdens of things like medical care and lost wages as well as other damages.

Source: UPI, “AAA study cites speeding, distractions in rising rate of teen driving deaths,” Ed Adamczyk, Oct. 12, 2016

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