Teen driver deaths, injury rates on the rise, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Parents of teen drivers, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some not-so good news for you.

After the number of crash-related teen deaths have be cut by about 50 percent in the last decade, those numbers are on the rise in the 2014-2016 years. Our teens still are more likely to be involved in a car accident that causes injury or death than any other age group in the United States.

RELATED: TIPS FOR TEEN DRIVERS

Student driver Morgan Stewart takes her third test drive with driving instructor Zane Bush,left.. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN 2013

Teen drivers with less than 18 months experience have a four-times higher risk for being involved in crash or “near-crash event.” The report listed reasons such as speed, inexperience, distractions, teen passengers, use of alcohol, drugs and medication.

If your child isn’t yet driving, but is riding with a teen who is, consider that more than half of the children age 8 to 17 who die in car crashes are driven by a driver younger than 20.

RELATED: HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD A DRIVER’S LICENSE

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising its pediatricians to talk about these things with their teen patients (and parents, you can do some of this. too):

  • Counsel teens on seat belt use and the risks of driving while impaired by alcohol, illicit substances and medication.
  • Encourage parents to practice driving with their teenagers in a variety of environments and for more than the state-required minimum of hours.
  • Promote the use of safe alternative routes to school to lessen driving time.
  • Support later school start times to ensure teens have adequate sleep.
  • Study whether the graduated driver’s licensing provisions should be expanded to include novice drivers who are 18 or 19 years old.

RELATED: LEARNING TO LET GO AS TEEN STARTS DRIVING

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