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Crash Avoidance Technology Could Save Teen Lives

Vehicle Safety Technologies and Teen Drivers

Crash avoidance vehicle safety technology could prevent or mitigate as many as three-quarters of fatal collisions involving teen drivers, according to a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

While the technologies do not stop every single crash that they are designed to address, the agency’s analysis showed significant potential benefits for teen drivers if the technologies were widely used. 

Teen Drivers are at Higher Risk

When looking at the per-mile-driven rates, teen drivers are close to four times more likely to be involved in a collision than drivers who are at least 20 years old. Out of all age groups except 80+, teen drivers are the most likely to be involved in a fatal crash. A few factors play into that high risk: inexperience, speeding, and low seat belt use.

Prior research has shown that teen drivers are not as skilled at recognizing hazards and controlling their vehicles as those with more experience. This can result in an increase in crashes that involve loss of vehicle control. Teen drivers are also more likely to lose focus. They are less likely to decrease vehicle speed to compensate for poor visibility or slick roads. Finally, they are often involved in right-angle and rear-end crashes.

Given the tendencies outlined above, crash avoidance technologies such as lane departure prevention and front crash prevention, which are designed for all drivers, could be particularly beneficial for teens.

Safety Technology Specifically for Teen Drivers

Some software developers and automakers offer technologies that are specifically geared toward teen driver issues. Examples include speed limiting devices that can be controlled by parents, and system locking technologies that only release when the seat belts are engaged. Certain smartphone apps can provide parents with real-time alerts when their teen is breaking nighttime driving curfews or speeding.

Not Perfect But Beneficial

Even if it turns out that the technologies are only moderately effective, that still could translate into the prevention of many injuries and deaths. Research by IIHS reveals that nearly 40 percent of teen driver fatalities involve speeding. Speeding contributes to about one-fifth of all teen driver injury crashes. Approximately 40 percent of teen driver fatalities were not wearing their seat belt. A significant percentage of crashes causing injuries and deaths of teen drivers occur between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. 

For any app-based technology, such as those that alert parents of after-hour driving, they are only going to be effective if they are used and if parents take action when alerts are received. 

The Availability of Vehicle Safety Technology

We have a long way to go before the use of these technologies becomes widespread on our roads. By 2023, it is estimated that only about a fourth of all vehicles on the roads will be equipped with lane departure warnings, AEB, and blind-spot monitoring. And since teen drivers are more likely to drive older and less-equipped vehicles, the number of teens being assisted by these technologies will be few. As the years go by, however, and the current fleet of vehicles on U.S. roadways ages out, we can expect to see these technologies help lower accident rates for all drivers, including teens.

Watch the YouTube video. The IIHS recently posted this lighthearted video on Lego crash avoidance.

Yuba City Personal Injury Lawyer

Thanks for reading. I’m Ed Smith, a Yuba City personal injury attorney. For close to four decades, the skilled injury lawyers at have been advocates for injured Yuba City residents. Serious car crashes can disrupt your life. They may result in crushing medical bills and income loss. An experienced attorney can ensure that your case receives optimal financial compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and would like to receive our free and friendly legal advice, call us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400. 


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