Teenage drivers get a bad reputation, but is this deserved? Unfortunately every single day in America an average of six older teens (15 and over) die on our roads due to traffic accidents. To put this in context, this is twice as many deaths as there are due to suicide and 60% more than due to homicide. Even with these figures, it is still important to ask if the reputation teen drivers have is deserved. The economic cost of accidents by college-aged teenagers is high. It costs $10 billion annually with drunk driving specifically estimated to cause nearly 13,000 fatalities on American roads every year.

The Bigger Picture

Teenagers are nearly twice as likely to get into an automobile accident compared to the over 65s. This figure is increasing and experts in the field say major changes are needed to prevent it from getting higher. The CDC highlights that teenage boys drive faster and closer to other cars than girls. Boys are also more likely to drink drive, which when combined with faster speeds, closer driving and a lack of seatbelts leads to a spike in road deaths.

Wear A Seatbelt

Nearly half of the deaths in road traffic accidents are being blamed on seat belts not being worn. In all but one state the wearing of a seatbelt is compulsory, so how can 48% of deaths on the road be blamed for the lack of one? The answer is that law-enforcement does not always step in and stop drivers and passengers for forgetting to strap in. But college drivers can make a choice. Being highly educated and striving to be different they can choose to buck the trend and respect the figures. By deciding for yourself that you will always wear a seatbelt, you can start a small social trend. It is estimated that nearly a half of all road traffic accident victims would have survived if they had just belted up; there is a very easy way not be part of those statistics.

College drivers have a tough time of it and the risks to them are significantly higher. Insurance companies are trying to simultaneously price the problem out of existence and offset the cost of it. The average premium for a teenager is well over $8,000 compared to around $2,000 for those between 25 and 65. As a driver or passenger, you have the choice whether to continue the trends of the past or to forge a new future. Don’t drink and drive. Slow down in urban areas. Always wear a seat belt. Refuse to get in the car with a driver who won’t follow these rules. If the older generation are poor role models then it is time once more for college students to stand up and be role models for them.

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