Dr. Magryta: Driving and teens

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2016

Teenagers and driving is becoming the scariest event for parents to witness.

According to the CDC:

“In 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16-19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16-19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.

“Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.”

Males, teens driving with teen passengers and newly licensed teens are the three categories of high risk groups for mortality.

What can you do?

Currently, the automotive industry is working on computer based driving modes using a car key fob that is specific to your teen, controlling speed and ability to use the phone while driving.

But not all of us can afford a newer car for our teen, nor do we want to spend big money on a car that is likely to get banged up, statistically.

Many cell phone companies offer free apps and there are apps available by private companies that allow a parent to track driving and also block certain phone functions while driving. Some apps report on a teen’s driving habits while others block functions like texting and calling while moving more than a few miles an hour.

I would aim for the prevention mode apps since the recall apps are not useful after a fatal accident, which is what we are most concerned with.

The Canary project is an interesting site worthy of a perusal by teen driving parents [http://www.thecanaryproject.com/support/]

I am not a controlling parent in general, however, cell phones have changed the safety game with respect to driving beyond a reasonable level of safety. Cars, alcohol, phones and teens equals a bad outcome!

I encourage all parents to think long and hard about the risk they want their teen to take, where they can be hurt or —maybe worse — have to live with the knowledge that they have hurt another person.


Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at  newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

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