Young Drivers and Safety in Pennsylvania

There is an auto safety crisis in the United States. Preventable auto accidents are seriously injuring and killing young drivers at epidemic levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 292,742 teens aged 16-19 were treated by emergency healthcare professionals for injuries sustained in auto accidents in 2016. In the same year, 2,433 teenagers were killed from accidents on the road. It’s a sobering fact to realize that on average, six teens are killed every day in car accidents. According to PennDOT, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young drivers aged 16-24 in the Commonwealth. Accidents happen. However, there are steps you can take to help decrease these numbers; knowing the risk factors and the methods of accident prevention is a good start.

Groups with the Highest Risk

The risk of fatal car accidents is substantially higher among teens aged 16-19 in comparison to all other age groups in the United States. In fact, the CDC reports that the risk factor for auto accidents in the 16-19-year-old age group is three times as high when compared to motorists aged 20 or older. So, beyond age, what groups present the highest risk of car crashes?

  • Teen Males – Teen boys aged 16-19 are twice as likely to be involved in a car accident as compared to teen girls the same age.
  • Teen Passengers – When your teen is driving with their teenaged friends, their risk for an auto accident increases substantially.
  • Newly Licensed – If your teen has recently been issued a new driver’s license, or they are planning to get it soon, be aware that there is a higher risk of accidents for teens aged 16-17 compared with teens aged 18-19.

Risk Factors

  • Speed – Younger drivers (especially teens) are much more likely to speed compared to older motorists. Speed can be deadly because it greatly reduces reaction time.
  • Decisions – Poor critical decisions can have disastrous results. Teens are more likely to underestimate and fail to recognize hazards on the road.
  • Day of Week – The CDC reports that 53% of fatal car accidents involving teens happened on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Time of Day – Almost half of teen deaths from auto accidents occurred between 3pm and 12am.
  • Alcohol – According to the CDC, 15% of drivers aged 16-19 who were involved in a car accident had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher in 2016.
  • Seat Belts – According to the Pennsylvania DOT, 58% of young drivers in fatal car accidents were not wearing a seat belt.

Car Accidents Can Be Prevented

You can greatly reduce the risk of your young driver being involved in a car accident. First, you need to know the circumstances that lead to accidents and make your young driver aware of these hazards. Education and driver training lead to prevention, and prevention can save lives. Here is a look at some of the most dangerous situations that can lead to fatal accidents on the road.

  • Inexperienced Drivers – Be patient with your young driver, spend time with them on the road and quiz them about on-the-road situations and how they should respond.
  • Evening Times – The data is real. When your young driver is operating a vehicle at night, there is a greater risk of them having an auto accident.
  • No Seat Belt – Be sure your teen always wears their seat belt. The difference between a serious injury and death could be the decision to wear a seat belt.
  • Being Drowsy – A teen’s brain is still growing and developing, so adequate sleep is crucial in helping a young driver to stay focused behind the wheel.
  • Being Reckless – Young drivers take more chances and make poor decisions.
  • Impaired Driving – Educate your teen driver on the risks of driving under the influence.
  • Distractions – Encourage your teen driver to avoid distractions such as cell phone use or any other activity that takes their focus off the road.

Final Thoughts on Young Drivers

Be patient with your teen driver. Remember we were all inexperienced drivers once too. Take the time to speak with your teen about driving safety and ways they can reduce the risk of an auto accident when they’re on the road. Don’t be afraid to ask your teenager where they’re going and who they’ll be with — it just might save their life! If you have questions about insuring your teen driver, we are here to help. Call Plymouth Rock to speak with one of our friendly and experienced agents.

Learn more about the importance of having car insurance and car insurance that is affordable as well as discounts for students and tips for new drivers

Plymouth Rock Assurance is a marketing name used by a group of separate companies that write and manage property and casualty insurance in multiple states. Insurance in Pennsylvania is underwritten by Palisades Insurance Company, Palisades Property and Casualty Insurance Company and High Point Preferred Insurance Company.

Call 855-993-4470, get your free quote online, or find an agent to learn more about coverage for young drivers in PA. Visit our contact us page if you need to call us with additional questions.