The number of teens dying in car crashes is on the rise. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to remind teens about the dangers of distracted driving and speeding.
Experts say parents can set a good example by using their seatbelt and putting their phones away while on the road.
Novice adolescent drivers (those with <18 months of driving experience) are at 4 times the overall risk of crash or near-crash events.1 Adolescents are at risk for crashing because of their inexperience, their poorly developed skills, and for some, their engagement in risk behaviors. Age and associated neurocognitive maturity also contribute. Per mile driven, drivers 16 through 17 years of age have the highest rates of crash involvement, of injuries to themselves or others in their car, and of death to people outside the car in a crash.2 For these reasons, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are among the most common cause of mortality and injury for adolescents and young adults in industrialized countries.3 Adolescent drivers have the highest rate of MVCs among all age groups in the United States
For many teenagers, obtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage, conferring the ability to independently travel to school, work, or social events. However, immaturity, inexperience, and risky behavior put newly licensed teen drivers at risk. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of mortality and injury for adolescents and young adults in developed countries. Teen drivers (15-19 years of age) have the highest rate of motor vehicle crashes among all age groups in the United States and contribute disproportionately to traffic fatalities. In addition to the deaths of teen drivers, more than half of 8- to 17-year-old children who die in car crashes are killed as passengers of drivers younger than 20 years of age. This policy statement, in which we update the previous 2006 iteration of this policy statement, is used to reflect new research on the risks faced by teen drivers and offer advice for pediatricians counseling teen drivers and their families.