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Car accidents still leading cause of death for teenagers

Recently in Adams County, a 16-year-old passenger died in a car accident when the driver collided with a tree. In Lehigh County, a 19-year-old boy collided with a guardrail and died in the accident. 

All too often, we hear about teenagers suffering life-changing injuries or death in car accidents on Pennsylvania roads. Parents want to protect their children from danger, but they cannot always do so, especially when teenagers obtain their driver's license.

Why do teens face such high risk on the road?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that auto accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for teenagers.

There are several reasons that teens are involved in these kinds of accidents so often, including:

  • Lack of experience: New drivers may not yet know or understand all traffic signals. And teen drivers also do not have the years of experience under their belts as adult drivers do—which help them to drive defensively and smartly.
  • Distractions: More than half of the accidents involving teenagers are the result of distracted driving. As relatively new drivers, teenagers are more likely to engage in distractions behind the wheel, from texting while driving or holding conversations with passengers. 
  • Speeding: The Research Institute at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reported that many accidents involving teens also result from speeding. Teens are often reckless, even unintentionally, or simply do not understand how to manage their speed.

The rate of accidents also increases in the summer

Now that school is out, more teenagers hit the road with their friends. Many experts and studies agree that the rate of accidents involving teens increases in the summertime often because:

  • There is a higher number of teen drivers on the road
  • The chance of teen impaired driving increases in the summer
  • Teens might drive in unfamiliar areas

The months of July through September are also some of the deadliest for traffic accidents. And that only contributes to the already high risk that teenagers face. 

Parents can help increase safety for teens on the road

Learning does not stop after someone obtains their driver's license. There is still much that teens must learn about the roads. And parents can help them learn by:

  • Encouraging them to practice driving 
  • Demonstrating safe driving practices
  • Discussing the dangers of distracted driving
  • Establishing rules against impaired driving

Taking these measures can help build a teen's confidence on the road and reduce their risk of being involved in an accident. 

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