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New Teen Drivers at Higher Risk for Car Accidents
Minnesota teen drivers continue to be over represented in traffic crashes due to driver inexperience, distractions, speeding/risk-taking and seat belt non-use. The greatest crash risk occurs during the first months of independent driving. The good news is that progress has been made. Laws on cell phone use, texting, seat belts and nighttime and passenger limitations have helped reduce teen traffic deaths and injuries.
Tips for Teen Drivers
- Pay Attention. Driver distraction is the most common contributing factor in multiple-vehicle crashes. Keep the radio…and your phone off.
- Be a Daytime Driver. Your risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night than in the day.
- Go the Speed Limit. Excessive speed is the most common contributing factor in single-vehicle crashes for drivers.
- Never Drink and Drive. It severely impairs your reaction time and decision-making skills.
- Take the Keys Away. If a friend has been drinking, NEVER let them get behind the wheel.
- Wear Your Seat Belt. Properly wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers. And it's the law.
- Get Enough Sleep. A person who has been awake 24 hours experiences impairment almost equal to a blood alcohol content of .10.
- Check Traffic Before Pulling Out. Most crashes involving teens occur at intersections due to inexperience judging distance and speed.
- Drive Solo. The presence of passengers strongly increases the risk of a crash.
- Drive Defensively. Assume that other drivers aren’t as thoughtful or skilled as you are.
Tips for Parents
- Be Chauffeured. Once your teen receives his/her learner’s permit, have them drive you everywhere. This extra time behind the wheel will help them get more comfortable driving.
- Keep Your Cool. Never overreact when you’re on the road with your teen. Studies have shown that an emotionally charged conversation reduces attention span and increases distractions.
- Meet Your Teen’s Friends. Monitor your teen driver’s comings and goings, and meet the friends along for the ride. Studies show that a teen driver with passengers is three times as likely to die in a fatal crash than one driving alone.
- Choose a Safe Car. The type of car your teen drives can be a matter of life and death. Choose a vehicle in good condition with a good reliability record.
Hang Up and Drive
It is now a Minnesota law that any new teen driver is not allowed to talk on a mobile phone while driving – unless the call is for an emergency – even if the driver is using a hands-free device. Violation of this law can result in a fine up to $100, plus court costs and license suspension.
Teenage Driving Statistics
- In 2015, Minnesota traffic crashes took the lives of 31 teens; 3,600 were injured
- Teenagers driving at night with passengers are 4-5 times more likely to crash than teens driving alone during the day
- The most dangerous time for teen driver crashes was between 2 to 6 p.m.
- Alcohol is responsible for almost half of all teen motor vehicle deaths