Speeding and Seat Belt Usage in Teens

Did you know that teens are less likely to use a seat belt, even when they’re aware that it’s a law and can save lives during a crash? In addition, teens tend to speed more than adults, even when they know it can lead to a deadly crash.

Below, you’ll find a few statistics that should help you understand how at risk teen drivers are. Hopefully this information will help you teach your children how important it is to abide by the speed limits and always wear a seat belt.

Speeding in Teens:

  • Speeding was a factor in more than half of fatal crashes with a teen behind the wheel, nearly the same percentage as in 2008.
  • In 2008, 88 percent of speeding-related fatalities occurred on roads that were not interstate highways.
  • Among crashes attributed to a critical teen driver error, 21 percent of serious teen driver crashes were due to driving too fast for road conditions.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and to allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next.

Seat Belt Usage in Teens:

  • 58 percent of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt in 2011, an increase from 56 percent in 2008.
  • 50 percent of passengers killed in crashes involving a teen driver were not buckled up in 2011, a decrease from 65 percent in 2008.
  • Among the general population, the number of teen passengers who report not always wearing a seat belt decreased to 46 percent in 2011 from 51 percent in 2008.
  • Teens have the lowest seat belt use of any age group.
  • Teens who live in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws are 12 percent more likely to buckle up as drivers and 15 percent more likely to buckle up as passengers compared to teens who reside in states with weaker secondary enforcement seat belt laws.
  • As teens move the stages of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), they are more likely to stay buckled up in primary enforcement states than in secondary enforcement states.
  • Teens more frequently associate seat belt use with a “safe driver” rather than a “good driver.”
  • Some common teen responses for not wearing seat belts: the belts are uncomfortable; the trip was short; forgetfulness; lack of understanding about their importance in a crash; and not being “cool.”
  • Male teens continue to lag behind female teens in seat belt use. In 2009, 11.5 percent say they rarely or never wear a seat belt as a passenger, compared to 7.7 percent of high school females.
  • Driving programs that combine education, peer-to-peer strategies, publicized enforcement, and parental monitoring may show potential for increasing teen seat belt use.

Durham Lawyer | Kevin Jones

If you’re teen has received a ticket for speeding or not wearing a seat belt, contact our Durham lawyer. We are here to represent your teen for any type of traffic violation citation they receive.