The decisions that drivers make while behind the wheel affect the safety and lives of everyone else on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 pose a greater threat to motorists than any other age group. Their inability to make quick decisions while driving, in combination with several other factors, make teens in Tennessee and across the country more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists several factors that act as teenage driving hazards and contribute to the risk of auto accidents. These include:

  •          Distraction from other passengers in the vehicle
  •          Speeding
  •          Drunk driving
  •          Texting and talking on cellphones
  •          Not wearing a seat belt

Since teens are novice drivers, many lack the ability to determine whether a situation is dangerous. Furthermore, their inexperience behind the wheel makes it difficult for them to know what to do if a hazardous situation should occur. For example, teenagers may be less likely to reduce their speed in icy weather conditions or put their cellphones down in order to concentrate on the road.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the number of passengers teens have in the car while they are driving is directly linked to their risk of becoming involved in a fatal car accident. This is just one reason why Tennessee, and many other states across the country, place restrictions on teen drivers through a graduated driver’s license program. In some cases, teens must have an adult present in the car while driving and are restricted as to how many additional passengers they can have.

Fortunately, many car accidents are preventable. By understanding teen driving habits, people may be able to avoid becoming the next victim of a serious auto collision.