Losing a child is the worst thing a parent can imagine. Unfortunately, high speeds and inexperience make teenagers especially likely to suffer severe or fatal car accident injuries. If your child has been hurt or killed in a crash, we encourage you to contact an experienced attorney today to learn more about your family’s rights and possible recovery.
Teen Speeding Accidents More Likely to Be Fatal
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released new information about teen drivers and speeding that should cause all parents of teen drivers to stop and take notice. According to the GHSA report Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle, more than 2,000 U.S. teen vehicle occupants were killed annually between 2015 and 2019—nearly half of these crashes involved speeding.
During these five years, 15,510 teen drivers and passengers nationwide died in speeding-related crashes. In Kentucky, speeding caused 73 of the 223 teen car accident deaths during the study period—one in every three fatalities. Speeding is a hazardous maneuver for all drivers, but drivers between 16 to 19 are 13% more likely to be killed in a speeding-related crash than other age groups due to:
- Lack of experience. The youngest teen drivers (16- and 17-year-olds) showed the highest fatal crash rates, most likely because they cannot recognize and react quickly to road hazards.
- Night and highway driving. Older teens (18- and 19-year-olds) are more likely to crash between midnight and 5:00 a.m. and while traveling on highways and freeways.
- Passengers. Each additional teenager in a vehicle exponentially increases the chances of a teen driver being involved in a speeding-related fatal crash.
- Other risky behaviors. Teen drivers in fatal crashes were more likely to be unbuckled, have run off the road, or rolled the vehicle.
- Going with the flow. Once teenagers become accustomed to driving, they maintain the speeds of drivers around them, even if it means traveling well over the speed limit.
How Parents and Teens Can Help Prevent Speeding Crashes
Despite interventions to curb teenage driver crashes, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, parents are a primary influence in the life of their teenage children, and the GHSA recommends specific actions parents of teen drivers can take to prevent speed-related fatal crashes.
Specifically, parents may:
- Set a good example. Be the driver you want your teen to be. If they catch you speeding or not paying attention, they will likely copy that behavior.
- Enact and enforce family rules. Sit down with your child and discuss the importance of safe driving, especially seat belts and speed limits. There are many different parent-teen driving agreements online; print or create one with clear expectations and consequences for your teen to sign.
- Limit vehicle access. If you want to give your teen a vehicle of their own, it’s better to wait a year after they pass their driving tests. Teens are less likely to take risks with a car that doesn’t belong to them.
- Slower is better. When it’s time for them to get their own car, make safety the top priority when selecting a vehicle. Compare options for in-vehicle safety technology, such as collision and lane-drifting warnings, speed limiters, or automatic braking.
- Get insurers involved. Some insurance programs offer discounts in exchange for using in-vehicle speed monitors or other safety features.
- Explore apps. Your teenager’s cellphone can be adapted for safer driving with free or low-cost apps, such as turning on a drive mode to block calls and texts while the vehicle is in motion.
Call a Lexington Car Accident Lawyer If Your Child Has Been Hurt or Killed
Even if your children follow the rules of the road, they may not be safe from the actions of their friends or other drivers. If your child was in an accident, contact us today or call 1-888-450-4456 to learn your options in your free case consultation. You should also request and read through our complimentary guide, Critical Information to Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky.