Summer is a dangerous time for teen driving accidentsThe Department of Public Safety has released statistics for 2012 driving accidents and crashes. Even though teen crashes have decreased over the last five years, summer is still the most dangerous time of the year. Because of many distractions and teen driver inexperience, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths.
By: Claire Hoffert, Lake County News Chronicle
The Department of Public Safety has released statistics for 2012 driving accidents and crashes. Even though teen crashes have decreased over the last five years, summer is still the most dangerous time of the year. Because of many distractions and teen driver inexperience, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths.
“They have the attitude that they don’t think it’ll happen to them,” Sgt. Curt Mowers, the regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol, told the News-Chronicle.
Texting, drinking, speeding and having multiple passengers in the car contribute to dangerous driving conditions, increasing the probability of an accident. Seat belt use helps prevent major injuries in the event of a crash.
“Teens that buckle up are a lot safer and have a better chance of surviving those crashes,” Mowers said. “The bottom line is that they have to think about the consequences and that there are consequences.”
In 2012, 17 percent of all traffic crashes in Minnesota were teen-related, and 13.1 percent of traffic injuries were sustained by teens.
The worst consequence of all, traffic fatalities, totaled 395 in Minnesota in 2012, and 10.1 percent of these were teens.
With increased speeding patrols, DWI commercials, and seat belt programs, teen drivers are finally beginning to get the message. Crashes have decreased from 10.011 in 2007, to 11,804 in 2012.
“Overall, we’re bringing serious injuries and crashes down,” Mowers said, but “they’re still a huge concern and we’re trying to push parental involvement.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, parental involvement is key to developing safe teen driving. Teens need to gain experience in a variety of situations — day, night, city, rural, rain and snow — with parental supervision. Parents should establish rules to decrease their teen’s encounters with high-risk situations. Even after teens have received their licenses, parents should continue to provide driving instruction.
“Traditionally, younger people have problems because they’re inexperienced,” Mowers said. “They’re not experienced and they need to get that experience.”
Some interesting facts from
the Department of Public Safety
in 2012, the latest year data is available, include:
• Fridays were the most dangerous day of the week, with a total of 2,181 teen crashes, compared with just 1,293 crashes on Sundays.
• The most dangerous hour of the day is 3 p.m., with 1,288 teen crashes, as opposed to 62 crashes at 5 a.m.
• Driver distraction, the greatest risk factor, contributed to 2,917 crashes involving teen drivers. Failure to yield the right of way led to 1,835 crashes, while speeding contributed to 1,395 teen crashes.