It’s a fact. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, with the risk of motor vehicle crashes higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group.
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at approximately 2:07 p.m., the Oregon State Police responded to a head-on two vehicle fatal crash on US Highway 101 near milepost 14. The preliminary investigation revealed a black Honda Civic, operated by a male age 18, was traveling northbound and lost control rotating sideways into the southbound lane. A southbound silver Toyota 4-Runner was unable to stop, hitting the passenger side of the Honda. The teen driver of the Honda suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Speed was considered as a contributing factor for the crash.
Statistics show that teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and underestimate dangerous situations, and alcohol is frequently a factor. Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in a crash in 2014, 36% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking, with 64% not wearing a seat belt. Distraction from cell phones and young passengers also increases the danger of a fatal crash.
Graduated Driving Licenses for Teens Featured in Most States
Nearly all states give graduated driving licenses to inexperienced young drivers while they safely gain experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Most programs are in three stages:
- Learner Stage: supervised driving followed by a driving test
- Intermediate Stage: limited supervised driving in high risk situations
- Full Privilege Stage: a standard driver’s license
38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. In all states, except Vermont, drivers in the intermediate stage are restricted from nighttime driving, and 46 states and D.C. restrict the number of passengers during the intermediate stage.
Once licensed in Oregon, for the first six months a teen driver can’t drive with a passenger under the age of 20 who isn’t an immediate family member, and for the second six months can’t drive with more than three passengers under the age of 20 who aren’t immediate family members. For the first year, teens may not