Underage Driving and Road Safety
Many lives are shattered by underage drivers going for a joyride in the vehicles of their parents or older relatives. We are aware of many unlicensed drivers going for the short drive – but often overlook the nature of the risks and the consequences to these youngsters. Parents are urged to familiarize themselves with the risks associated with underage driving.
The facts about underage driving:
- Teen drivers aged 16-19 years are four times more likely than older drivers to crash
- Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, ride with an intoxicated driver, and drive after using alcohol or drugs
- Inexperience is the reason why these drivers are more likely to underestimate hazardous situations
- The presence of teen passengers increases the risk of accidents by underage drivers - and the more passengers - the higher the risk
- Accidents by underage drivers occur mostly on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours 9pm and 6am.
Why do underage drivers pose such a significant risk?
- The high number of underage drivers transgressing the law by going for a joyride can be attributed to peer pressure and a feeling of youthful invincibility
- Teenagers have a sense that they can get away with transgressions – a feeling of bravado whereby “ I can get away with anything”
- This is further evident in research indicating that teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use
- About 30% of crashes killing young drivers involve alcohol and are often combined with contributing factors such as speeding
Not only could these accidents lead to loss of life, but also severe physical and emotional scars on the survivors. Many parents are not aware that insurance companies are only obliged to honor claims from sober and licensed drivers – and they will have to compensate for the damage caused by underage drivers…
Advice for parents:
- Know what your children are doing and where they are - and how they are traveling to and from their destinations
- Talk with them about the consequences of their actions and the trouble they can get into
- Stress responsibility and the dangers to road safety
- Discuss with your children the need to avoid peer pressure and to avoid climbing in vehicles with underage and intoxicated drivers
- Put keys where underage children cannot get to them
The most important advice would be to teach responsibility by way of example. If parents drive with caution and obey the laws of the road – their children will also have more respect for traffic laws and for those who travel our roads!
Young Impaired Drivers / Young Drunk Drivers and Road Safety
Road Safety and our Students / Young Road Users