You make your child wear a helmet when they ride a bike or skateboard, you buy organic food and try to feed them a healthy diet, and then when they become a teenager you might whisper a little prayer for their safety every time you hand them the keys to the car. According to a recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), while much progress has been made in reducing teen driver-involved auto accidents and deaths over the past decade, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than their adult counterparts. The GHSA has released a report that was funded by the Ford Motor Company that examines the 10% spike in teen driving deaths among 18 to 25-year-olds in 2015, and why older teens were more likely to be involved in auto accidents than their younger counterparts.
The report – Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter – looks at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2015 traffic safety data that reveals a significant increase in teen-involved car accidents. This uptick is troubling because it is the first such increase since 2006. The report recommends that state highway safety officials take action to avoid a complete reversal of the gains seen in the past ten years.
Taking steps to make teens safer
One of the challenges that the report reveals is that while the Graduated Driver Licenses (GDL) programs have shown a significant safety benefit for young drivers, the requirements for the GDL do not generally apply to drivers over the age of 18. If a young person’s first application for a driver’s license is at age 18, rather than at 15 or 16-years-ol, they miss out on all the mandatory training and time ad experience behind the wheel with an adult, licensed driver in the car guiding them.
The GHSA’s report calls for states to expand their GDL programs to include all drivers under the age of 21. It also recommends 11 best practices and policies for strengthening GDL programs to help reduce the high crash risk for 18 to 20-year-olds. One of the model programs can be found in Maryland, where their Rookie Driver program requires all novice drivers to complete 30 hours of classroom and six hours of behind the wheel training regardless of their age. Implementing this kind of requirement in South Carolina can only help our young drivers, since all they need to get a license now is a passing grade for the vision and road skills test.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Their Alive at 25 Young Adult Driver Training Program helps to reduce teen driver collisions, injuries and fatalities by focusing on behavior, judgement and decision making behind the wheel. The Alive at 25 program classroom course is available in South Carolina, and they also offer a parent program online course that helps the parents of young drivers identify the risks they face, and how to reinforce good decision-making skills.
Parents of teen drivers have the responsibility to equip their kids with the skills to become safe drivers. As the numbers are revealing, if they age out of the GDL program and do not receive the necessary training, it can cost them their lives and the lives of those with whom they share the road.
If you have suffered a serious injury in an auto accident, you may have grounds to pursue legal action against the responsible party for your injuries, and any other losses you have suffered. Please call the experienced South Carolina auto accident attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC. To find out more. We can evaluate your case and answer your questions about you getting the compensation you deserve. Call 803-327-7800 or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.