Teens Behind The Wheel

As young adults reach the legal driving age, they are eager to have more freedom and want to experience all of the excitement that goes along with it. Unfortunately, teen drivers can perform risky behaviors that make them a hazard to themselves and those with whom they share Ontarios roadways.

According to the Canadian branch of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), inexperience and immaturity are the two leading factors that influence the high rates of death related to teen drivers. 19-year-old drivers are the highest represented age group per capita overall, and they have the highest death rate per kilometer driven among drivers under the age of 75.

Teen Driver Crash Statistics

  • The leading cause of death between 15 25-year-olds is motor vehicle crashes. In half of those instances, alcohol is a contributing factor.
  • 19-year-olds have a higher instance of death than even 16-year-olds.
  • In close to 2/3 of teen driver fatalities, the young person who was fatally injured had been drinking, not the other involved drivers.
  • The summer months hold the highest instance of teen drunken driving offenses, while winter has the least.
  • Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes.
  • The weekend is the most deadly few days of the week and most teen drivers die on the weekend.
  • Having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .10 makes a driver 51 more times likely to be involved in a vehicle accident than a non-drinking driver.
  • Males account for 87% of young vehicle fatalities and 89% of those drinking drivers who are seriously injured.

Young Drivers Graduated Licensing Program

A Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) gives young drivers the opportunity to gradually gain the responsibility it takes to be a fully licensed Canadian driver and the privileges of licensure while limiting the risks they may be exposed to. In most provinces and towns in Canada some form of this program exists. Typically, a zero BAC is required in addition to restrictions on driving times and the number of passengers that can ride with the young driver.

Some provinces are considering periods of longer zero BAC because of the proven dangers that alcohol poses to teen drivers. A young persons judgment when hindered by alcohol makes operating a vehicle and making an intelligent decision nearly impossible and MADD Canada has recommended the zero BAC requirements be extended until the age of 21.

MADD reports that the zero BAC GDL program has been shown to reduce the number of impaired driving accidents, which are reflected in the teen driver crash statistics. The goal is to prolong the period of time that places restrictions on young drivers while they develop the skills and maturity to properly operate their vehicle, keeping them and other drivers safe in the process.

Source:  Greg Monforton