Be Afraid Of Teenage Drivers!

How to address this problem is not as simple as it seems, especially as technology has taken over teenagers’ lives.

Whether you want your children to be independent, resilient, creative; whether you’re talking to teachers, psychologists, grandparents; whether you’re discussing homework, food, sports; the recommendation, time and again, is relax.

Among the people who know what they are talking about, the unanimous message to parents is: You’re not worried nearly enough. Get much more involved. Your child’s life may be in danger.
What’s the topic? Teenage driving.

“If you’re going to have an early, untimely death,” said Nichole Morris, a principal researcher at the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, “the most dangerous two years of your life are between 16 and 17, and the reason for that is driving.”

Among this age group, death in motor vehicle accidents outstrips suicide, cancer and other types of accidents, Dr. Morris said. “Cars have gotten safer, roads have gotten safer, but teen drivers have not,” she said.

In 2013, just under a million teenage drivers were involved in police-reported crashes, according to AAA. These accidents resulted in 373,645 injuries and 2,927 deaths, AAA said. An average of six teenagers a day die from motor vehicle injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Charlie Klauer, a research scientist at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, said her research suggested the numbers were even higher because many teenage accidents go unreported. “We believe one in four teens is going to be in a crash in their first six months of driving,” Dr. Klauer said.

Contributions from The New York Times

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