2 - 15 year old children died in a one car traffic accident on Friday night, another survived with only a few scratches, bumps, and bruises, but is having to be constantly sedated because he's having such a hard time accepting that his friends are gone. The accident happened on a rural highway near where I live. The accident is tragic, it's senseless, and it's so very sad.
In the United States, traffic crashes account for 40 percent of all deaths among 15-20 year olds.
Almost 20 percent of the deaths on Arkansas roads occurred in crashes involving teen drivers.
In Arkansas, AAA found that almost 57 percent of those killed in accidents involving teen drivers were either passengers, occupants of other vehicles, or non-motorists such as pedestrians.
Young drivers typically carry more passengers in their cars than older drivers, and these passengers are usually around the same age as the driver. Often this results in a deadly combination of inattention, inexperience, and immaturity. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the risk of death increased significantly with each additional teen passenger transported by a teen driver. In single vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, two-thirds of fatally injured passengers were also teens (between ages 15 and 19).
A frequent contributing factor to crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving teens is the decision by the young novice driver and his or her peers not to use seat belts.
More and more traffic accidents involving teens can be directly related to their use of cell phones while driving.
Our current driver education system does not teach young people to drive; it teaches them to pass a test. Learning to drive is a long-term process, one that cannot be effectively managed through the traditional driver education program. Once the basic skills are learned, extensive additional “on the job” training without distractions, and with the assistance of a more mature and experienced driver is needed. As their skills and maturity develop, young novice drivers can then proceed to full licensure.
When are we going to wake up and stop handing the keys, to a possible death sentence, to our kids?