Motor Vehicle Crashes Leading Cause of Death For Teens
The dangers of texting and driving
Texting combines three distractions into one: it takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the primary task. The Texas Department of Transportation says distracted driving includes distraction, driver inattention or cell-phone use.
Distracted driving is becoming increasingly common and dangerous, causing traffic crashes and fatalities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Six teens ages 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries.
Teens may even be aware of the danger, but in the teenage mind, the need to stay in touch often outweighs the need to stay safe. ‘Kids who are learning to drive right now have grown up with cell phones, so it seems natural to stay connected to their friends all the time,” said Sam McCage, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, manager of Behavioral Health Services at Cook Children’s. “When teenagers do not respond immediately to texts, they might feel that they’re being very rude or will miss out on something important.”
The most dangerous time of the year for teens to drive, is the first year after they receive their driver license. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 have a higher crash rate than those drivers between the ages of 18 and 19. Sixteen –year-old drivers are less experienced and haven’t developed the skills necessary to handle distractions, road hazards and poor traffic situations.
Parents can help their teen drivers by riding in the car with them, even after they obtain their license. The only way teens learn to drive is by driving, and they will get better at driving when coached by an experienced older driver. Please don’t assume that just because your teen has passed their driving test, that they know everything about driving.