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Car Crashes: Number One Killer of Teens



By Charles Boyk, licensed to practice law in Ohio since 1983, focuses on cases involving personal injury including car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall cases and much more.

According to a recent study conducted by AAA, 156 Ohio teens were killed in crashes in 2015. National statistics show that vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for Americans between the ages of 16 through 20 in this country.

And the number one cause of these crashes is distracted driving – despite the enormous amount of education and safety campaigns. In fact, two-thirds of teen drivers involved in fatal car accidents were practicing distracted driving behaviors at the time of the crash.

And although many people may think that the number distraction for teens is cell phone use, especially texting and driving, it is actually distractions from passengers the teens have in their vehicles that cause them to lose focus on the road in front of them.

One study found that if a teen driver has two or more of their friends in the vehicle, the risk of being in a crash more than triples. Having friends in the car tends to encourage a teen driver to engage in risky behaviors. Male teens, in particular, appear to be more susceptible to risky driving behaviors.

In a study that was published in Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers found that male teen drivers were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal driving maneuver before crashing than if they were driving alone in their vehicle.

They were also twice as likely to drive aggressively than if they were alone. The study found that having passengers in their vehicle did not cause female teen drivers to take these risks.

Under Ohio law, new drivers are required to log 50 hours of supervised driving. Ten of those hours need to be at night and during the first six months they have been granted the privilege of driving. New drivers are also required to have at least 24 hours of classroom instructions.

Many safety advocates say that the state needs ever more graduated driving laws in order to protect both teen drivers and other people who are on the roads.

Advocates say it is also critical for parents to set good examples to their teens and must also practice safe driving behaviors.


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