If you had to guess what the leading cause of death is for teens, what would you say? Drugs, alcohol, and suicide are all common killers of adolescents, but statistics repeatedly show that the number one source of teenage fatality in America’s from driving.
Even more worrisome is that teen driving deaths in Tennessee are at an all time high, and the most in the nation. Read our recent blog post on teen auto accident fatalities to learn more.
Statistics like these mean that it is more important than ever to teach your teen about driving safely behind the wheel, especially when it comes to distractions.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is an opportune time to bring up the subject of distracted driving with young drivers. Research on teen driving, like the study done by State Farm, has found that teens who frequently talk with their parents about safe driving are significantly less likely to text and drive.
To get the discussion started in your home about being responsible behind the wheel, and to acknowledge National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, here is the truth about teen distracted driving in America:
- 40% of teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger
- 56% of teenagers admit to talking on their cell phones behind the wheel, while 13% admit to texting while driving (Note: Because this information was given voluntarily by teens, actual cell phone use numbers may be much higher)
- Less than 40% of teen passengers said they would likely say something to a distracted driver who was endangering themselves and others
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal car crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the accident
- Drivers under the age of 24 are up to 50% more likely to send a text message while driving than older drivers.
But it appears that adolescents aren’t the only drivers guilty of being distracted while operating a vehicle. Research shows that:
- 69% of 18- 64 year old drivers in the United States reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed; nearly a third (31%) admitted to texting or emailing behind the wheel
- Almost one out of every five injury crashes in 2010 (18%) were reported as distraction-affected crashes
- In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an additional 387,000 people were injured in an auto accident involving a distracted driver
What qualifies as distracted driving? Essentially, anything that takes your eyes off the road. Texting is obviously a major contributor to the recent spike in distracted driving auto fatalities, but eating, drinking, music players, passengers, and navigational systems are all considered potential temptations for non-attentive drivers.
We encourage you and your teen to check out Distraction.gov to read more statistics about the dangers of driving while distracted, as well as the government’s role in preventing these accidents from happening.
Call Knoxville auto accident lawyers at Gilreath & Associates if you or a loved one has suffered from a distracted driving-related incident.