On Tuesday of last week, a car carrying four Illinois teenagers crashed into a creek, killing all four occupants. On Sunday, an Ohio car wreck killed six of the eight teens in the vehicle after the SUV went off the road and crashed into a pond. That same day, an SUV driven by a Texas teenager crashed into a gas tanker, killing all five occupants and seriously injuring the tanker driver. In total, 15 people lost their lives in these three wrecks in a three-day period. The accidents serve as a tragic reminder of the importance of safe driving, particularly for young drivers.
A 2011 survey showed that only 54 percent of high school students always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that is the lowest rate of seat belt use of any age group. The CDC also says that teen drivers are more likely to drive faster than the speed limit than older drivers. Early reports indicate that none of the six teens who died in the Ohio accident had a seat belt on and that the driver was speeding and driving recklessly.
Teen drivers are three times more likely to die in a car accident than older drivers. Young drivers are more likely to take unreasonable risks behind the wheel. They have trouble identifying and avoiding dangerous situations. The lack of experience and questionable judgment increase the likelihood of a tragic motor vehicle accident. The importance of safe driving must be impressed upon young people before they are allowed to get behind the wheel. The cost of a mistake is simply too high.
Source: CNN, “Fatal wrecks underscore risks for young drivers,” by Tom Watkins, 13 March 2013