According to analysis of UConn Crash Data by AAA, teen drivers were involved in fewer crashes overall during the COVID-19 lockdown, yet experienced more fatalities. Researchers compared the past five years of data to preliminary 2020 figures.
An average of 9,450 teen driver crashes occurred in those prior years, versus 5,700 through the fall of 2020. The resulting fatalities were slightly higher than average: CT teen drivers were involved in 20 deadly car accidents yet in most cases, those killed were not the teens.
While fewer accidents can be attributed to less traffic on our roadways during the pandemic, AAA in Greater Hartford cites the reasoning behind more fatalities as a sharp increase in speeding, coupled with teen driver inexperience. In fact, the first year with a license is the most dangerous period in a driver’s life.
January is Teen Driver Awareness Month. Despite the decrease in overall crashes last year, parents are still encouraged to teach safe driving behavior. Consider the following tips.
1. Teach By Example
Talk with teens about abstaining from dangerous driving behavior. Having clear rules outlined can help ensure your teen driver makes safe, smart decisions behind the wheel.
Establish a signed agreement that sets family rules for every driver.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
AAA recommends new teen drivers have at least 100 supervised practice hours with a parent before driving solo. Be sure to practice in different weather and traffic conditions.
3. Seatbelt Rules
Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, teen seatbelt usage lags behind that of adults over age 25. To reduce injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash, require everyone to buckle up every time.
4. Avoid Phone Use
Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, or the length of a football field. In Connecticut, drivers under 18 are banned from using all handheld and hands-free cell phones. Adults may not text and drive or use a handheld cell phone.
Set a family rule for all drivers to keep mobile devices stowed away when behind the wheel.
5. Set a Zero Tolerance Policy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens are the most likely age group to be killed in alcohol-related crashes. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal but compromises your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Talk with your teen about the dangers of impaired driving and develop a formal written agreement with rules and consequences.
6. Driving with Passengers
One of the most dangerous sources of distraction for teen drivers is other teen passengers. In Connecticut, a new driver can only have immediate family members in the car. Once your teen is able to drive with friends, limit the number of passengers.
7. Other Common Distractions
Distracted driving goes beyond cell phone use. Tuning the radio, eating, drinking and adjusting the GPS also take your attention from the road. Have your music and route set before you head out and avoid consuming anything behind the wheel.
Even the safest teen drivers can be involved in an accident. If you find your child in this situation, turn to Trantolo & Trantolo. We’ve helped thousands of families just like yours navigate the legal process. To pursue a claim, contact our car accident attorneys today.