10tv.com, out of Ohio, recently highlighted a story that has parents everywhere cringing with worry for their own teens. According to police, it was a small sedan that met head on with a tree in Alexandria, Ohio. The impact caused the car to split in two. It also sent two young females and one male flying. The three, sitting in the rear of the vehicle, were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident and all were ejected when the car careened into the tree and died.
Fortunately, the driver and front seat passenger chose to buckle up, which is likely the only reason that they survived the collision. Both were rushed to local medical facilities in rough condition. The state of the two teens at the time of the report was unclear. However, what the authorities did acknowledge was the fact that all five people in the car were under the age of 17 years.
Skid marks before the crash suggest that the driver was traveling at excessive speeds and lost control of the vehicle. This, unfortunately, is not an unusual story. St. Petersburg has seen enough teen-related car accidents of a similar nature. Traffic accident statistics are particularly scary for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old and this accident points to three big problems that have been trending among teen drivers:
Speeding and Risk Taking. Whether it is just an attribute of youth or the fact that they have not yet been placed in life-threatening situations, teenage drivers have demonstrated a tendency to take risks that adults shy away from. This means traveling at faster speeds, tailgating, cruising through red lights, ignoring stop signs, and other such foolish behaviors. These risks alone will increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident and also the chances of those accidents involving fatality.
Ignoring Seat Belts. As noted in this case, failing to buckle up can drastically increase the risk of dying in a crash. These teens were ejected, others have been thrown into the heads of front seat passengers, or slammed into the hard metal roof of an overturned car. Authorities report that teenagers, whether they are living on the West Coast, in Ohio, or right here in Saint Petersburg, are far less likely to buckle up than any other age group, putting them in greater danger on the roads.
Distracting Passengers. Teens that ride together are a distraction for one another. As we have learned via thousands of media headlines in recent years, distracted driving leads to car accidents. Conversation, particularly exciting or animated talking, can take a lot of the driver’s attention off the road. It only takes a driver removing his or her eyes from the road for a second for a crash to occur. Teenage drivers transporting their friends between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to die in an accident and for each additional passenger placed in the car, the chance of an accident grows. Part of this is pure distraction and much of it can be blamed on peer pressure causing drivers to act more aggressively, to drive faster, and to push limits, which can land them in trouble with the police, with a personal injury attorney, or meeting a much worse fate.