The most common causes of traumatic injuries among teenagers are motor vehicle crashes, violence, falls and sports injuries, according to ThinkFirst, a National Injury Prevention Foundation. Teenagers are a high risk group, particularly from injuries relating to motor vehicle crashes. Yet, many of these unintentional injuries are preventable through education and taking the right precautions.
According to the CDC, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to19-year-olds, compared to any other age group. Teenagers are particularly at risk because they are new drivers and relatively inexperienced. They are also more likely to be risk-takers – often influenced by peer pressure, alcohol or recreational drugs, which can impair judgment and driving ability.
Practice teen driving safety by taking the following precautions:
Discuss driving safety: Talk to your teen children or students about the importance of safe driving. This includes following traffic rules and always wearing a seat belt, which is proven to reduce the likelihood of traumatic injury during a crash.
Supervise and establish rules: Establish some rules for your teenage kids on driving with their friends or for restricting driving at night. View the CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that puts down some basic rules in writing to clearly set expectations and limits.
Don’t drink and drive: Educate teenagers as much as possible about the dangers of drinking and driving. Especially on prom night, when there is a high incidence of motor vehicle crashes due to drinking and driving. Encourage teenagers to use a taxi service, if they are not in a condition to drive on prom night.
Don’t text and drive: Texting while driving is one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers. Ask teenagers to call or text before they start driving or on arrival. If they must take a call or send a text urgently, encourage them to pull over.
Take advanced driving courses: Teens can greatly improve their driving skills by taking advanced driving classes such as the Graduated Driver Licensing Program or Defensive Driving courses that provide knowledge and techniques for safer driving.