Virginia’s teenage drivers lack the experience behind the wheel that older motorists have. Many of them also admit to engaging in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, such as texting and driving or driving while distracted. Research shows that fatal crashes involving teenage drivers are on the rise across Virginia, raising questions about what parents, transportation officials and safety advocates might do to counter the problem.
According to WTOP, there were 55 road deaths caused by teenage motorists in Virginia between the beginning of 2020 and mid-October. During the same span the year prior, there were 51 such deaths. This held true even though there were many more drivers on the roadways in 2019.
What causes fatal teen driver-involved crashes
Many fatal crashes that involve teenage drivers share similar characteristics. Often, speed, alcohol or a lack of seat belt use plays a role. In 2020, the number of crashes involving speed or a lack of seat belt use increased by 78% in comparison with the year prior, even with fewer motorists on the road.
What parents might do to help prevent teen driver-involved crashes
AAA recommends that parents set limits when it comes to when their teenagers may drive. For example, many teens lack the experience needed to drive after dark, in inclement weather or with other teenage passengers. Parents may also be able to improve their teen’s behind-the-wheel behaviors by modeling safe driving practices themselves.
All motorists should take precautions to protect themselves against negligent drivers. Part of this involves wearing a seat belt on every trip and otherwise driving defensively.