CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts is seeing a record number of deadly car crashes involving teenage drivers.
22News spoke with experts to learn how parents can talk with their teens about driving responsibly.
“Teen drivers are inexperienced,” says Mark Schieldrop of AAA Northeast. “They haven’t had those close calls, those near misses, or those small crashes that kind of tell them that its very easy to lose control of a car.”
According to AAA, the year 2022 was the highest amount of teenage deaths in car crashes within the last decade. Data shows in 2022, 49 drivers killed in car crashes were between the ages of 16 and 19. Massachusetts hasn’t seen more than 40 teenager deaths annually since 2008, when there were 56 teens killed in crashes.
Also in 2022, there were 16,709 crashes involving a teenage driver in Massachusetts. The top five reasons for those crashes were:
- Driver inattention or distraction (2,590 crashes)
- Failure to yield right-of-way (1,651 crashes)
- Following too closely (1,457 crashes)
- Speeding (932 crashes)
- Failure to keep in proper lane / running off road (617 crashes)
Schieldrop adds, “This is a trend that we see on social media, where people are driving well above the speed limit and weaving in and out of traffic this sends the wrong message to teens who are vulnerable to imitating things they see on the internet.”
Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about safe driving, including wearing a seatbelt, limiting the amount of passengers inside a vehicle and laying down some ground rules with your teenager.
“Teen driver crashes affect everybody on the road,” said Schieldrop. “Parents and caregivers play a critical role in making sure young drivers learn in a safe environment.”
Also, setting limits on other passengers, the risk of a fatal crash dramatically increases when there a multiple teen passengers. And lastly, parents should model good driving behavior for their children.