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Teen Safe Driving: Preparing a Teenager to Drive

Once a child reaches the age of 16 in New York, they can apply for a learner’s driving permit. Six months later, they may apply for a junior driving license. At age 17 or 18, they may receive their full license. To a certain degree, exams and road tests help ensure that teens are safe to drive during this educational period. However, parents can also prepare their teens for the road ahead with a number of educational strategies. By supporting teen safe driving, parents can not only protect their own children, but also the safety of the general public. For parents whose children have already suffered injuries behind the wheel, teen safe driving might seem like an especially important priority. Keep in mind that parents of injured victims can work with New York personal injury attorneys at Stufano Law to pursue compensation for various damages. Call (914) 752-7746 for more information. 

Consider the Teen Driving Statistics 

Parents may wish to review the statistics that surround teenage drivers in New York, perhaps alongside their children. These numbers help hammer home the risks involved and the need for teen safe driving. 

Teen Driving Statistics in New York

According to the New York State Department of Health, auto crashes represent a “leading cause” of unintentional deaths for 16- and 17-year-olds in the State. The Department of Health goes on to say that within a 24-hour period, 10 people die or suffer injuries due to crashes caused by teens. Within the single calendar year of 2014, crashes caused by teens led to almost $23 million in medical expenses within the New York State hospital system. Teens who have just recently received their licenses are at the highest risk of crashing. 

These statistics illustrate that teens both cause and experience injuries at an alarming rate in New York. Parents and teen drivers should know that when a teen becomes injured in a crash, they spend an average of five days receiving treatment at a hospital, incurring an average of $50,000 of medical expenses in the process. A Yonkers, New York personal injury lawyer with Stufano Law may be able to help families recover expenses after a teen car crash

National Teen Driving Statistics

Further statistics on a national scale underscore the high risks for teen drivers. The Institute for Highway Safety (IISH) states that although teens are less likely to drive than other age groups, they experience a disproportionately high number of crashes, auto injuries, and fatalities. The IIHS points out that the crash risk for the 16-19 age group is three times higher compared to those who are 20 or older. 

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that teen driver fatalities are moving in the wrong direction, pointing to a 17% increase in teen driving fatalities from 2019 to 2020. 

Common Issues Faced by Teen Drivers in New York

One of the most obvious issues faced by teens is their lack of experience behind the wheel. Even if teens ace their driving exams, there is no substitute for real experience. Teens may only learn certain lessons after many years of driving. However, simple inexperience is not the only factor weighing against teen safe driving.        


Teens may be more likely than drivers in other age groups to engage in reckless or thrill-seeking behavior behind the wheel. The Department of Health in New York highlights the fact that male teens in particular are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries in crashes compared to female teens. This is in line with numerous studies––including a recent paper published by Cambridge University––pointing to a greater prevalence of risk-taking behavior in men. The NHTSA states that in 2020, young male drivers were more than twice as likely to become involved in crashes compared to their female counterparts. 

The New York State Department of Health reports that within a 24-hour period, three teen drivers become involved in crashes caused by unsafe speeds. Male teens are more likely to take risks compared to their female peers, and this includes speeding. Teens of all genders may also engage in street racing, drifting, and other unsafe forms of driving. 

Lack of Seatbelt Usage

The NHTSA reports that more than half of all young drivers who died in 2020 were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their crashes. This is a common issue across all drivers in the United States. Poor seatbelt compliance leads to worse outcomes in the event of a crash for both teen drivers and those who share the roads with them.


Studies suggest that despite being prohibited from drinking, teens who die in car crashes are frequently intoxicated at the time of the accident. The NHTSA suggests that during 2020, as many as 29% of teens who died in car crashes had detectable levels of alcohol in their systems. 

Distracted Driving

According to Pew Research, over one-third of all teens in the United States admit that they have texted while driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that distracted drivers contributed to over 3,000 deaths and almost 425,000 injuries in 2019 alone. In the modern era, many teens grow up with a strong connection to their devices. In addition, the National Institute for Health states that almost 25% of teens are “social media addicts.” This suggests that many teenagers behind the wheel may be incapable of putting their phones down. 

How Can Parents Prepare Their Teens for the Road Ahead?

Here are some general tips for parents who wish to prioritize teen safe driving:

  • Point out examples of bad driving
  • Lead by example and always drive safely
  • Allow racing enthusiasts to visit the track or the local go-kart circuit 
  • Set clear rules and boundaries
  • Facilitate regular practice sessions
  • Provide supervised practice in a variety of driving skills (night driving, highway, snow, rain, etc.)
  • Install apps on the device of your teen that prevent texting and driving
  • Consider professional driving lessons
  • Take a course before beginning teen safe driving education to review traffic regulations

Speak With Stufano Law Today

Many parents become concerned about teen driver safety only after their children experience crashes. While education is an important step after a major accident, parents may also wish to explore legal options alongside a personal injury attorney in Yonkers, New York. Due to the no-fault system in New York, it may be possible to pursue compensation on behalf of your teen even if they caused a crash. Reach out to Stufano Law today and call (914) 752-7746 to book a consultation. 


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