In 2013, the latest statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 542 total traffic fatalities in New Jersey. Research and crash data would mean that many of these deaths involved younger drivers.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, car accidents are the top cause of serious injury and death for young people, especially teenagers. Young drivers who have had their licenses for less than six months are eight times more at risk of being in a fatal accident than drivers with more experience behind the wheel. Teenagers are still up to three times more likely to be in a deadly crash after having their licenses longer than six months.
Additional factors for younger drivers include:
- Being able to recognize and appropriately react to hazards
- Understanding traffic rules and operating a vehicle
- Understanding the consequences of a driving decision
- Environmental surroundings, such as driving at night
Other factors often contribute to accident risks for younger drivers. These include having other teenage passengers in the vehicle, driving too fast and alcohol use. The first few months after getting a driver’s license are more than just a milestone for young drivers. This period helps to teach them valuable skills so they can become safer drivers as they mature. However, it may be difficult for inexperienced drivers to know what to do to avoid a dangerous situation that presents itself. For younger drivers, risks are an unavoidable part of the milestone of learning to become independent behind the wheel.