Car crashes: the number one killer of teens in US image

While many parents may believe that drugs or alcohol are the biggest risks for their teenagers, the deadliest one is in fact a car crash.

Parents are always worrying for their teens over many matters, as this is what parents usually do. However, as May is the Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, they should really understand, and act accordingly, that getting a driver’s license brings along deadly risks. According to a new National Safety Council poll, 76 percent of parents are unaware that the biggest danger to their teens’ safety is the vehicle sitting in the driveway, as car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers. And this is not because they take more risks behind the wheel, but most often because they are just inexperienced.

“Parents tend to worry most about the things we hear in the news, like cyber bullying and drug and alcohol use,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said. “But car crashes are the number one killer of teens. Ensuring our most vulnerable drivers safely gain the experience they need will result in more teens attending prom and graduation, not their friends’ funerals.”

The National Safety Council also cautions that other teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent, two passengers doubles the risk, while three or more quadruples it. It is also good to know that most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight. And the most worrying fact is more than half of teens killed in car crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.

These are the five tips for parents issued by the National Safety Council:
Buckle up on every trip, and make sure passengers are buckled, too;
Keep household rules in place, even after school lets out. One third of parents surveyed said they allow risky behaviors during vacations, like driving late at night;
Practice with teens, even after licensure, to ensure they are retaining good driving habits;
Model good behaviors; 95% of parents who drive distracted do so in front of their teens;
Set household cell phone rules; more than half of teens feel pressure from their families to drive distracted.