It's no secret that out of any age group operating motor vehicles, teen drivers have the highest rate of automobile accidents. This is mainly due to their inexperience. Here in Montana, though, it's a much more serious issue. Montana has the highest rate of automobile accident fatalities among teens. Approximately 1.7 teens die per 100,000 in Montana; the national average is around 0.5 per 100,000. Among teen drivers in the state, both drinking and driving and texting while driving were huge contributors to fatal accidents.
Unfortunately, lax teen driving laws in Montana play a role in this serious issue. Stronger laws in regards to teen driving have been shown to decrease accident fatalities among novice drivers in other states. In fact, if Montana adopted stronger teenage driver license laws, teen deaths may be reduced by as much as 53 percent. Parents would have to be willing to monitor their teens' driving behaviors, as well. As a parent, make sure your child is following applicable safety rules of the road. We've listed a few basic tips to keep in mind.
Teen Driving Tips
- Don't text and drive. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of teenage drivers have admitted to doing this while driving.
- Don't drive with more than one friend in your vehicle. Too many friends can cause a distraction for a new, inexperienced driver.
- Check your windshield before moving. Make sure it is clean and free of dirt and debris so that you can see clearly.
- Be aware of animals. Here in Montana, deer collisions are a constant threat, dusk and dawn are popular times for them to be on or near a road.
Finally, this should go without saying: Never drink alcohol or use any other substance that might impair driving. For parents, make sure your child is not impaired in any way before allowing them access to a vehicle. Let's all work together to keep teen driving accidents down.