Teen drivers suffer high accident rates in Tennessee: part 2

In our last post, we discussed the high car accident rates for teens in Tennessee. In this post, we'll look at some of the contributing factors and discuss car crash prevention.

One issue that safety advocates have pointed out is the long, winding rural roads common in the south. These roads can be poorly lit and far away from the nearest trauma center, which increases the likelihood that a serious crash will be fatal.

Another factor is the car culture in Tennessee. Many teens choose cars that may have high aesthetic value but are not particularly safe, and many choose to drive at high speeds for fun.

There are also issues with driver education in the state. Public high schools are not required to offer drivers an education class, which means that there is little ongoing discussion about safe driving habits as teens gain more freedom on the road. In addition, many teen drivers do not abide by graduated licensing requirements that limit night time driving and driving with large groups in the car.

Experts say that teens driving with a full car can be indicative of other unsafe behavior such as distracted driving, underage drinking, and not using seat belts. A local hospital spokesperson said that 46 percent of those kids were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Car crashes are the most common cause of hospitalization for kids age 10 to 19. While 10 years old may seem young to be involved in a car accident, consider than many families allow their children to ride ATVs before they are able to drive a car. These recreational vehicles pose serious risks to kids and can cause serious injuries just like a car can.

Source: WBIR, "TN's teen drivers pay price for inexperience," April 24, 2012.

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