What Parents Can Do to Keep Teens Safe Behind the Wheel
There are many dangers for teenage drivers in Colorado. These include legendary weather conditions that can change without warning. There's also increased traffic congestion along the Front Range. And there's the never ending road construction on I-25 and US-36. For inexperienced teenagers, these factors enhance the risk of having a car accident in Colorado.
Teen Traffic Fatalities Skyrocket
One of the most alarming car accident facts parents need to consider is that 2017 was one of the deadliest years on record for teenage drivers. In 2017, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) records showed that 67 teens between the ages of 15-20 died in traffic accidents. This represented a 22% increase over 2016 when 55 teens died in car crashes. This sharp increase in fatalities means that 2017 was as deadly as 2008 and it reversed the downward trend in fatality rates.
CDOT data shows that one out of every five teen drivers will be involved in a crash. The risk increases if they carry passengers or engage in dangerous behaviors such as distracted, drunk, or reckless driving.
Graduated Drivers License in Colorado
In the late 1990's, legislators in Colorado introduced the state's first graduated drivers license laws. These laws require teenage drivers to complete formal instruction via a driver's education program. This is vital, as it is known that these courses significantly reduce the risk of a motor vehicle accident.
Drivers are also required to hold an instruction permit for a period not less than one year and log 50 hours of supervised driving with a parent, guardian, or authorized supervisor. Of these, at least ten hours must be at night.
Crucially, these laws prohibit teen drivers from carrying passengers under the age of 21 except siblings and in extreme emergencies until they have held the license for at least six months. At six months, they can transport one passenger; at one year, they can transport additional passengers.
The law also restricts driving between midnight and 5 a.m., however, exceptions are available for work, emergencies, school-authorized activities, and emancipation.
We encourage you to contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more information on ways you can keep your teenage driver safe behind the wheel. We're happy to relay car accident facts so that your teen doesn't end up on CDOT's roster of statistics.