Statistics on risk factors for teenage drivers

Author and teen driving expert Timothy Smith explains the statistics on risk factors for teenage drivers in their early months of driving. Watch this video to find out the most important dangers to watch out for.
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Statistics on risk factors for teenage drivers

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We, parents, worry about so many things when it comes to our teens, but many people aren't aware of the single, biggest risk to their teen's well-being. Car crashes kill more teens every year than guns, drugs, alcohol and suicide combined. A 16 year old is 20x more likely to die in a car crash than an adult. Nearly 60% of 16 year olds are going to be involved in some kind of fender bender or car crash in the first 12 months of their driving, of learning to drive. Most parents think, perhaps, that their teens are most at risk at high speed freeways or unfamiliar cities, but actually, statistically, they're more at risk in familiar circumstances close to home and at speeds of 45 mile an hour or less. So that's important to keep in mind. We also worry a lot about drinking and driving, and rightfully so. But driver error causes more than 80% of all crashes, by far the single, biggest factor. And the good news about driver error is that it's easier to reduce than some other difficult, risky driving behaviors. Now, another surprising fact is that passengers are a very high risk. For every teen passenger that you add to a car driven by a teen, you increase the crash risk by 50%. So you pop 2 teens in the car, you've doubled the crash risk. And that applies to your teen being a passenger in another car driven by a teen as well. And most important, cellphones are the single, biggest contributor to driver error in crash risk. Texting while driving increases the crash risk 43x. Just talking on a cellphone quadruples the crash risk for a driver, a teen driver. And it doesn't matter whether it's hands free or not. The act of talking on a cellphone impairs the brain function, very similarly to having a .08 blood alcohol level which is legally drunk. So reducing or eliminating your child's use of a cellphone while driving is maybe the single, biggest factor you can help them reduce their crash while driving.
TEEN, Responsibilities, Driving

Author and teen driving expert Timothy Smith explains the statistics on risk factors for teenage drivers in their early months of driving. Watch this video to find out the most important dangers to watch out for.

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Timothy Smith

Author & Teen Driving Expert

Timothy Smith is a healthcare executive living in the Chicago area with his wife and three children.   He got involved with teen driving several years ago when a number of teenagers were killed in multiple crashes near his home, virtually all due to driver error.   His search for information to help his teens avoid car crashes yielded little of value, so he became a certified driving instructor, got trained and licensed to race cars, took defensive driving courses and ended up writing Crashproof Your Kids: Make Your Teen A Safer, Smarter Driver.  He is also Chairman of Aegis Mobility, a software company which has developed technology to manage and reduce cell phone use while driving. 

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