Teen Drivers and Speeding

Speeding has been a factor in over 37% of crashes involving 16-year-olds.

Research has shown that teenagers don't drive safely for fear of crashing, but rather for fear of getting a ticket. Researchers said that teenagers have a sense of immortality and the "it can't happen to me" syndrome.

Getting a speeding ticket for just 20mph over the limit could result in a $3,000 increase in premiums for auto insurance.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 20.

In New Zealand and Ontario, Canada, they have phased-in or graduated driver licensing in effect. This means that first-time drivers are restricted to when they can drive and with whom. A teenager will be a little older and more mature when he gains full, unrestricted privileges. This type of program has proven to reduce crash deaths and injuries.

Inexperience and risk taking play a major factor in teen crashes across the US

Being famous and wealthy doesn't give a person immunity from the perils of speeding. Earlier this month the Atlanta Thrashers forward Danny Heatley, just 22 and the NHL's rookie of the year in 2002, was charged with vehicular homicide.

Prom night and graduation are two of the most high risk times for teenagers. Multiple factors such as friends, alcohol, speeding, and night time driving all cause a higher risk for crashes.

Parents Stop the Speeding

1. Check your brakes and brake fluid. Teenagers speed the most. While teens are interested in how fast the car can go, parents should be interested in how well the car can stop. Make sure your vehicle is in its best mechanical shape if your teen is taking to the wheel.

2. Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to transport. The risk of a car crash goes up exponentially for each passenger added.

3. Be a good role model and do not drink and drive what-so-ever. Teens are very sensitive to hypocrisy and determine their behavior by what they observe in their parent, not by what the parent says. Tell your teen not to drink and drive and lead by example.

4. Insist that your teen and all passengers wear their seat belts and again, lead by example. Parents must wear their seat belts, too.

5. Do not allow your teen to drive after midnight. If transportation is required after midnight, make alternate arrangements. Act as chauffeur, car pool with another parent or arrange for a taxi. It is better that the parent lose one night's sleep than the life of their child.

The Speed Kills web pages were created by students in a web design class at Hermitage Technical Center in Henrico County, VA.
Speed Kills: Preventing Teen Driving Fatalities video and curriculum Copyright © 2010
Henrico County Community Criminal Justice Board
4301 E. Parham Road
Richmond, VA 23228
(804) 501-5190