Report shows teen driving fatalities are a prevalent problem in KY

A report indicates that Kentucky has the second highest rate of teenage car accident fatalities per licensed teenage driver.

Becoming a licensed driver is an important rite of passage for teenagers in Louisville, but it also introduces undeniable dangers. Based on 2012 data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that car accidents are now the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2011, an average of seven teenagers across the country lost their lives each day in an auto accident. Alarmingly, a report suggests that Kentucky may be one of the most dangerous states for teenage drivers.

High fatality rates

The report, which comes from the online finance website WalletHub, uses several metrics to evaluate which states are the most dangerous for teenage drivers. According to CBS News, these factors include:

  • Rate of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers
  • Number of teen alcohol-related violations
  • State laws against distracted driving and other dangerous behaviors
  • Per capita number of licensed teenage drivers and miles driven

The report found that, per licensed driver, Kentucky had the second highest rate of teenage traffic fatalities. WKYT News reports that, overall, Kentucky was ranked the fifteenth worst state for teenagers to drive in.

Dangerous driving habits

According to the CDC, several factors put teen drivers at a higher risk for accidents. Inexperience makes teenagers more likely to misjudge situations and make unsafe maneuvers; teenagers who have only had their driver's licenses for a few months have an especially high risk of accidents. Driving with other teenagers as passengers can further raise a young driver's likelihood of accident involvement.

Males also have a higher risk of accidents during their earliest years as licensed drivers. In 2011, male teenage drivers suffered almost twice the rate of fatal accidents as female teenage drivers, according to the CDC. Speeding and intoxication may contribute sizably; in 2012, speeding played a role in 37 percent of these fatal accidents, while alcohol use was a factor in 25 percent.

Even when they are not driving, teenagers may face a higher risk of serious injury because they are less likely to wear seat belts than other people. In 2013, 45 percent of teenagers stated they did not wear seatbelts when riding in vehicles with other drivers, according to the CDC.

Help after accidents

Parents can reduce the risk of their children experiencing car accidents by modeling safe driving behaviors and warning teenagers about the behaviors that are known to raise the risk of accidents. Still, these measures won't always protect teens against accidents that occur because of other drivers. Parents whose children have been harmed in accidents that other drivers caused should consider meeting with an attorney to discuss seeking compensation.

Keywords: car, auto, accident, injury