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How to keep my teen driver safe? - Tips for parents

With school back in session and thousands of Ohio teens obtaining driver’s licenses’ and driving to school or work for the first time, parents should take extra steps to ensure their teens drive safely.
Ohio Teen Driving Statistics
To raise awareness of the unique risks that teens face on the road, the Ohio Department of Public Safety released information highlighting teen traffic accident statistics:[1]

From 2016 to 2018, 132,744 automobile accidents in Ohio involved at least one teen driver. Even though teens comprise a small percentage of drivers in Ohio (just 7%), they were involved in more than 15% of all accidents.

During that period, ODPS (Ohio Department of Public Safety) estimated that action on the part of the teen driver contributed to 71% of accidents (94,861 crashes).

In the last decade, at least 1,000 Ohio teen drivers have died in traffic accidents. Between 2016 and 2018, 251 teen drivers lost their lives in automobile accidents.

Though it earns significant media attention, drug and alcohol impairment is not as severe a problem among teen drivers as it used to be. Today, only 2% of all at-fault teen driver crashes are caused by drug or alcohol-impaired driving.

Unfortunately, the improvements have been made to reduce teens driving impaired has been outpaced by another severe crisis, distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, distracted driving on the part of the driver is responsible for at least 9% of all teen driving fatalities.[2]

While teens face clear risk factors when they start driving, parents can take steps to make driving safer for them.
What are Critical Risk Factors for Teen Drivers?
Research suggests that the five main causes of crashes among teen drivers (and how parents might address them) are as follows:

Lack of experience. Lack of experience plays a role in teen car accidents. Even after a teen gets their license, their parents should still ride as passengers in the car to help provide advice, monitor their driving, and coach as needed.

Following too close. Following too close is a leading cause of rear-ending accidents. Parents should coach their teens on maintaining a minimum three-second following distance between their car and the car in front of them.

Failure to yield. Failing to yield leads to traffic accidents at intersections. Parents should coach their teens on always looking for road signage that indicates yielding.

Improper lane change. A major part of defensive driving involves performing head checks to look for other vehicles that may be obstructing a planned lane change. Teens might not have this habit yet, so parents should always remind their teens to do head checks and examine their blind spots before changing lanes.

Distracted driving. As referenced earlier, distracted driving is responsible for more than 4X the number of teen driving fatalities than alcohol or drug impairment. Parents must insist their teens remain focused on the road while driving, not talking on the phone, texting, or looking at their phone screens.
Professional Representation can Help Teens Affected by an Accident
A teen traffic accident is a parent’s worst nightmare. If you or someone you care about has a teen involved in a car accident, please call NRS Injury Law at 855.977.6670.

Sources Cited:

[1] ODPS. “Ohio Traffic Safety. Ohio Department of Public Safety, 2022. publicsafety.ohio.gov

[2] NHTSA. “Recent NCSA Publications.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. crashstats.nhtsa.gov

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