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Prom Night Safety Pt. 1

May 05, 2023

Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. Cathey Bach, an RN at UHC, talks about prom night tips that can improve the safety of young drivers on the road.

1). How big is the problem when it comes to teens and driving?

Unfortunately, it is a national problem, where we see about eight teenage deaths daily due to motor vehicle crashes, and hundreds more suffer injuries. Annually, that number is 2,800 teen deaths and 227,000 injuries. Motor vehicle crash deaths among teens in 2020 resulted in about $40.7 billion* in medical costs and cost estimates for lives lost.

2). Those are sobering statistics. How likely is a teen to be involved in a motor vehicle accident?

The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens ages 16–19 than among any other age group. In fact, teen drivers in this age group have a fatal crash rate almost three times as high as drivers ages 20 and older per mile driven.

Teens who are at especially high risk for motor vehicle crashes include:

  • Males
    • The motor vehicle crash death rate for male drivers ages 16–19 years was three times as high as the death rate for female drivers in the same age group in 2020.
  • Teens Driving with Teen or Young Adult Passengers
    • The presence of teen or young adult passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with each additional teen or young adult passenger.
  • Newly Licensed Teens
    • Crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure. For example, data indicate that the crash rate per mile driven is about 1.5 times as high for 16-year-old drivers as it is for 18–19-year-old drivers.

3). How distracted do teenagers become when driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, or fiddling with the stereo or navigation system. Anything that takes your attention away from safe driving (pause) is distracting driving.

One of the most alarming distractions is texting. Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. Texting and driving at 55 mph are equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

In 2019, among U.S. high school students who drove, 39% texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the prior 30 days. It is an accident waiting to happen. This prom season, use caution when driving to help you and your friends have a safe and fun night. For more information on Prom Night Safety, please visit

This content was originally posted on the WDTV News website here.

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