Fewer Rules Put Teenagers at Higher Risks for Car Accidents in Arizona, Nation

Teenage drivers may think that they know everything behind the wheel. What they aren’t typically aware of is the impact teenage passengers have on their roadway safety. A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health concluded teens are at higher risks for car accidents in Phoenix and elsewhere when other teen passengers are present in the vehicle.
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The study concluded that young male and female drivers were affected by passengers differently. While female drivers had passengers present in the car, they were more likely to play with their makeup, look at the other passenger, send and receive text messages and make phone calls. Boy teen drivers were more likely to break driving laws, including speeding and improperly turning, when other teenage passengers were present. What stayed about the same between the two was their risk for an accident. In nearly 700 cases analyzed, female drivers were distracted prior to 20 percent of the accidents in which they were involved, while male drivers were distracted about 25 percent of the time.

Phoenix car accident attorneys are aware that teenage drivers are more likely to get into a car accident than any other age group of drivers. Studies found ways we can help to reduce those risks for our teens. Comprehensive graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) programs along with thorough parental involvement can help reduce risks. GDL programs allow teenagers to master difficult driving skills through a number of restrictive levels. In some of the strictest GDL programs, teenage passengers are limited in these levels. Parental involvement helps, too. When parents know where their teen drivers are and are informed about their driving habits, teens are less likely to act out behind the wheel.

“Distraction from peer passengers appears to play a prominent role for both male and female drivers,” said Allison E. Curry, Ph.D., MPH, lead author on this study. “One in five females and one in four males who were driving with friends were distracted by something inside the vehicle just before they crashed.”

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted the studies that drew these conclusions.

In that first study, researchers picked apart accident reports from more than 675 teenage drivers. In these reports, it was clear that both male and female teenage drivers are dangerously affected by distractions.

In another study, the same researchers looked into how children reacted when parents were involved in their business behind the wheel. When researchers looked at more than 195 teenage drivers, they found that parent involvement leads to safer drivers. Teenagers who had parents who were actively involved in their driving habits typically perceived the risk as higher and were less likely to seek driving “sensations.” States that had GDL programs that limited the number of teenage passengers that a young driver could drive also saw lower accident rates among teen drivers.

Parents are urged to take the GDL program into their own hands. No, we don’t mean toss out all the rules, but embrace the current laws and add ones that you feel will contribute to your child’s safety. Make sure to enforce these laws and to actively punish for breaking these rules. Holding your teen driver to strict driving rules will not only help them to be responsible, but it will help to keep them safe on our roadways.

If you or your teenage driver has been injured or killed in a car accident in Arizona as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle, contact us online or call (602) 819-5191 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, and there are no lawyer fees unless a recovery is made on your behalf.

More Blog Entries:

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December 22, 2011
Arizona car accidents a leading cause of death among children
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