Following an in-depth study of vehicle accident fatalities, concern exists for the high number of teenage drivers and passengers who lost their lives in auto accidents caused by speeding. During the five years from 2015 through 2019, almost 5,000 teens died in accidents involving excessive speed nationwide, including in Michigan. The number of teen deaths represents slightly less than half of all the fatal road accidents over those five years.
The coordinator of the teen driver safety program of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning in Lansing was one of several experts who participated in an online panel discussion. One problem identified was that many drivers think it is safe to speed when there is less traffic. They noted that drivers between 16 and 19 years are at an increased risk.
Significant findings of the study
Along with proof that teenage drivers more often give in to the temptation to speed, the following findings underscore the need to address the matter:
- Male teens were more likely to die in speed-related accidents.
- Those who lost their lives were mostly not wearing their seat belts.
- Most teen deaths occurred in rollovers and cars leaving the road.
- Fatal high-speed crashes posed higher risks for 16 and 17-year-olds.
- 18 and 19-year-old drivers were most likely to die in crashes from midnight to 5 a.m.
- Freeways and highways were typically where older teen drivers crashed.
Furthermore, the study revealed that teenage drivers were more likely to be involved in deadly car accidents when they have passengers, with the likelihood increasing with the number of passengers in the vehicle.
The examples set by parents are crucial in determining the way teenagers drive. To get through to teens when discussing safe driving, it might be a good idea to underscore the many lives they put on the line when driving at excessive speeds. Michigan teens should understand that causing others’ deaths could lead to them and any separate owner of the vehicle they were driving being sued for wrongful death in civil court.