BOSTON (CBS) – The number of teenagers dying in car crashes is on the rise.
It’s the leading cause of death and injury in teens, who have the highest rate of motor vehicle accidents among all age groups in the U.S.
Why are teens so prone to accidents? Dr. Mallika Marshall says it’s because they are inherently immature, lack experience, engage in risky behaviors and often think of themselves as invincible.
“Add to that the fact that teens are less likely to use seatbelts and are particularly sensitive to alcohol and other substances, it’s a recipe for disaster behind the wheel,” she says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is issuing new recommendations for parents, clinicians and legislators on how to protect young drivers and their passengers from harm. But what specifically can parents do?
First, parents needs to serve as role models for safe driving practices. That means wearing seatbelts consistently and putting phones away when they’re behind the wheel.
Parents should have conversations with their teens about the dangers of distracted driving, responsible use of technology, avoiding substances like alcohol, drugs and sedating medications like Benadryl. That includes educating passengers who may be riding with a teen driver.
Adults should also encourage ride-sharing services or other means of transportation when possible and practice driving with their teens in a variety of conditions such as at night, in the rain and in snow.