October 15th through October 21st is national teen driving safety week. It’s always important to communicate and inform young drivers about the importance of practicing safe driving. Demonstrating best practices and reminding teen drivers about the risks associated with drowsy, distracted, or drunk driving is the best way to keep the roads safe for everyone.
Here are a few of the most relevant accident statistics among teenage drivers using the latest available data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration:
– Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for United States teenagers between 15-18 years old
– 2,608 people were killed in crashes involving a 15-18 years old teenage passenger vehicle driver in 2021, of which 861 deaths were the teen driver.
– Speeding was a factor in 32% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers in 2021
– 51% of teen drivers killed in crashes had unbuckled seatbelts
Driving Under the Influence, commonly known as DUI, refers to operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other substances. For individuals under the legal drinking age, even minimal alcohol consumption can result in DUI charges.
Arizona, much like other state legislation, has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI charges where in ARS 4-244 section 34it states that is illegal “for a person who is under twenty-one years of age to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while there is any spirituous liquor in the person’s body.”
First time offenders often receive the benefit of probation, but in the case that a minor is sentenced to court here are some potential Arizona underage DUI penalties that drivers can be convicted of:
– Automatic 2-year license suspension
– 180 days in jail
– Increased car insurance rates
– Mandatory drug or alcohol treatment
Additionally, being underage does not exclude convicted drivers from the typical thresholds of escalating DUI charges including regular, extreme, and super extreme convictions that carry the same penalties for 21+ drivers.
Here are a few key areas that the CDC outlines as danger zones for teen drivers and what parents can do to keep their teen drivers safe.
Crash risk is highest during the first year a new driver has their license. In the first few months it’s incredibly important to minimize crash risk by getting your teen the most experience. Some important steps parents can take are:
– Providing a significant amount of supervised hours over at least 6 months
– Practicing on a variety of different roads, times of day, varied weather, and traffic conditions to ensure your driver is comfortable and prepared
– Focus on always scanning for potential hazards such as other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians
There are a few specific instances where crash risk increases among teen drivers. Two of those are driving at night and with other teen passengers in the vehicle. As a parent, both of these instances can be avoided by:
– Limiting your teen from driving other minors for their first 6 months if possible
– Making sure your teenager is done driving after 9pm or 10pm during their first 6 months
Teen driving and DUI safety are topics that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of teen DUI incidents can be life-changing and devastating. By educating teens, setting clear expectations, and encouraging responsible behavior, we can make our roads safer for everyone. It’s a collective effort involving parents, communities, and schools. Remember that prevention is the key to keeping our teens safe on the road.