A recent crash in Fort Lauderdale is unfortunately one example among many of the higher than average rate of fatalities and serious injuries suffered by teens on the road; a 16-year-old passenger was killed, and the driver and another passenger, 20 years old and 19 years old respectively, experienced serious injuries.
As pointed out by the CDC, car crashes are the main cause of fatalities among teens between the ages of 16 to 19. The inexperience of teens on the road, along with their greater propensity to be impulsive and reckless, drives the higher rate of crashes, including those that end in tragedy.
There are, however, ways of reducing the chances of a crash. Parents who are involved in their children's driving, discussing driving risks with them and laying down firm road rules, help prevent car accidents. One example is to make a rule against using a cell phone or texting in the middle of driving, as this activity causes great distraction; and of course, the prohibition against drinking while driving is hugely important. But there's yet another risk that parents need to be aware of: the number of passengers in the car.
Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that, for teen drivers ages 16 and 17, the risk of a fatal car crash increases the more young passengers there are in the car; a young passenger is defined as anyone under the age of 21. As soon as they get their licenses, teens are eager to drive their friends around; and those who don't have licenses, or a car, like to take advantage of the free rides. But, especially for novice drivers, extra young passengers are associated with a greater risk of fatalities on the road, possibly because of the extra distractions in the car or perhaps the need for some drivers to show off for their friends. In contrast, having a passenger who's 35 or older in the car with a young teen driver significantly reduces the risk of a crash.
Take this advice from a Stuart, FL car accident lawyer: what teens need, especially when they're starting out on the road, is a drive that's as free of distractions as possible. They also benefit from being accompanied by a responsible adult. While it's understandable that they might want to drive their friends around, you can impose some limits on the number of young passengers they can transport until they get older and gain more driving experience.
While we hope that you would reach out to us in the event of an accident, what we want is for you to put measures in place to prevent accidents to begin with, especially among teens, a group more prone to tragedy on the road. With parental guidance and involvement, the risk of teen accidents on the road does go down, sparing you and them from suffering and tremendous expenses.