Teens, the least experienced group of drivers on the road, are not surprisingly the riskiest drivers on the road. Couple inexperience with bad decision making and you have the recipe for a driving disaster. To help cut down on teen driving deaths, get to know the usual suspects of bad driving behavior: Driving Drunk, Driving Distracted, and Driving Recklessly.
How serious is drunk driving? According to MADD, about 40% of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related. That means we could almost cut auto-accident deaths in half if we could eliminate drinking and driving.
When it comes to driving, there are two things that matter the most: your brain and your vision. When you are drinking alcohol or doing any drug, your brain and vision are always affected. With beer, wine, and liquor your reaction time slows down significantly and your decision making becomes poor. In addition, your vision becomes impaired and blurry. Things like bright lights and darkness make focusing much harder when you're drunk. It's no wonder why driving intoxicated can be so deadly.
Vital Stat: About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives. - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Distracted drivers are yet another group of lethal suspects cruising our roads. As quoted from the California DMV website, "Distractions contribute to one out of four accidents. That is 4,300 accidents every day, resulting in one-and-a-half million accidents a year!"
A driving distraction is anything that takes a driver's focus away from the road. The most common and thus most dangerous distractions are cell phone use, other passengers, eating, and playing with the radio, CDs, or MP3 players. Anytime you do one of these tasks you are focusing your attention and sometimes even your eyes on something other than driving. Think of it this way - taking your eyes off the road for even 2 seconds when you're traveling 60mph is like driving ½ the length of a football field with your eyes closed...YIKES!
Vital Stat: When talking on the phone, teen drivers failed 54% of driving tasks such as avoiding a swerving vehicle. - California DMV Website
Reckless driving is another problem plaguing some teen drivers, especially the abuse of speeding and street racing. A 2001 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) informs that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and that the number of fatal crashes are increasing as a result of speed contests.
It doesn't take too much imagination to figure out why high speeds can be the source of many of our traffic collisions. When you're speeding, not only do you need more time to stop, but your steering control is diminished. The effects of suddenly swerving while speeding is also heightened. Realizing the dangers of speeding and street racing, law enforcement is starting to crack down harder on such behavior. In 2001, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported that over 800 traffic citations were handed out for illegal speed racing activities in California. Even spectators at street races can be given citations.
Vital Stat: Nationwide statistics show that 49 people are injured for every 1,000 who participate in illegal street racing. - NHRA Website