Car Accident Deaths More Likely Among Teen Motorists Than Adults
Teen drivers are three times more likely to suffer death in an auto accident than their older counterparts. Drivers under 18 are especially at risk, according to AAA. Novice drivers are not only young and impulsive, they are inexperienced and overly confident of their abilities. Many underestimate the risk of certain dangerous driving habits, such as speeding, riding with peers, or consuming drinks before getting behind the wheel.
As we head into the school year, many parents will be trusting their high-schoolers with the keys to commute. It's a huge responsibility for which teens and parents must be prepared.
The Reasons Teen Drivers Face Greater Danger
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015 an average of six teenagers died every day from motor vehicle injuries. The New York Times explored the dangers of teen driving further and learned that passengers are a critical problem for teen drivers. The New York Times article reported that adding one non-family passenger to a teen’s vehicle increased the odds of having an accident by forty-four percent.
Distracted driving is another serious problem which has spread rapidly across America with the prevalence of smartphones. Teens are not immune to this trend: Forbes reports on a Governors Highway Safety Association study which found teens to be the largest age group of drivers who were distracted at the time of an accident. While distraction is dangerous for any driver, is is particularly problematic for young, inexperienced drivers who are not always prepared to deal with obstacles in the road.
The Graduated Driver’s License Program in Kansas
Like many states, Kansas has introduced a graduated driver’s licensing system. This occurs in three phases. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, there are three forms of graduated driver’s licenses available to teens before they can receive full driving privileges:
- An instructional permit may be obtained between the ages of fourteen and fifteen. It is valid for one year. Permit holders must be accompanied by an adult in the front seat who is at least twenty-one years old and holds a valid driver’s license. Wireless communications are only permitted in emergencies.
- A restricted license may be obtained between the ages of fifteen and sixteen, once the driver has held a permit for one years and completed twenty-five hours of supervised driving. If the applicant is under the age of sixteen, he or she must also complete a driver’s education course. During this time, the restricted license holder must complete an additional twenty-five hours of supervised driving. Non-sibling minor passengers are allowed, and wireless communications are only permitted in emergencies. Once the restricted license holder is sixteen, he or she may travel between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. At this point the license holder is also allowed one non-sibling minor passenger.
- A farm permit may be obtained by drivers aged fourteen to seventeen who either live or work on a farm. The applicant must pass vision, written, and driving tests. If the farm permit holder is under the age of sixteen, he or she may drive at any time in connection with farm employment or to and from school. During other times, the permit holder must be accompanied by an adult who holds a valid driver’s license. No non-sibling minor passengers are allowed, and wireless communications are only permitted in emergencies.
Keep your teen safe by enforcing family rules for safe driving, and modeling safe driving behaviors for your teenage driver. If your teen has been injured in a car accident, he or she has legal rights which must be protected. Contact a Wichita auto accident attorney as soon as possible.