Teen Drivers Face Risks on the Roads of Western Kansas

Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than older, more experienced drivers. This simple statistic results in tragic injuries and deaths which devastate teens and their families. Luckily, following basic rules for safe driving can help mitigate the risk of being involved in a car accident. And when wrecks do occur, an experienced Wichita car accident attorney can help those who are injured get the compensation they deserve.

Teen Accident Statistics and Kansas Cases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. In 2015, a total of 2,333 teens aged sixteen to nineteen were killed in motor vehicle collisions. That means that six teens died every day as a result of motor vehicle injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration further reports that teens are the largest age group of drivers who report themselves to be distracted at the time of an accident.   

These statistics are more than hypothetical theories. Kansas teens are killed in car accidents, and this devastates the lives of Western Kansas families. Such was the case for the community of Anthony, Kansas. ABC KAKE reports that two teens were involved in rollover accident outside of Anthony. The driver failed to maneuver a turn. The passenger, sixteen, was ejected from the 1995 pickup truck and killed. He was about the start his junior year of high school at Chaparral High School. KSN reports on a similar accident in Hodgeman County that claimed the life of a nineteen-year-old passenger from Dodge City. KSN reports that the driver, also nineteen, survived, but passenger Nicolas Velasques-Ortiz succumbed to his injuries.

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

There are lessons to be learned from these grim statistics and tragic accidents. First, teen drivers are particularly vulnerable to distractions which divert attention from the task of driving. Second, inexperience also makes teen drivers more likely to lose control of their vehicles, and less able to regain control once it is lost. These problems can be addressed with family involvement and safe driving rules:

  • Combat your teen driver’s inexperience with driver’s education courses and practical experience. The more time a parent spends observing and instructing a teen’s driving, the better he or she can teach a teen how to respond to the wide variety of scenarios all drivers must face.
  • Enact and enforce clear guidelines for the use of technology in the vehicle. Teen drivers should be banned from surfing the internet or texting while driving. Emergency calls should only be placed when the vehicle is stopped. Whenever possible, teens should keep their smartphones out of arm’s reach in the vehicle, so they are not tempted to use them. Navigation systems should be programmed with the destination before the vehicle starts moving.  

The Kansas Division of Vehicles offers a detailed description of Kansas graduated driver’s license laws, as outlined in K.S.A. 8-234b.

With practical experience and good driving habits, the roads of Kansas can be made safe for all teen drivers.