Teens: Don’t Chase Cool, Slow Down

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It can’t be avoided, the inevitable moment when teen drivers take to the road. For many teens, pressure from peers about what they wear, who they hang out with and even how they drive shape their behaviors – both good and bad.

The newfound feelings of freedom coupled with their inexperience with driving can yield dangerous driving behaviors when they are also feeling the pressure to look cool, on-trend or edgy amongst their friends and peers. One of the most common, risky choices is speeding – a trend that often stays with them far beyond their first months of independent driving. 

High speeds while driving is an ongoing critical safety issue for teen drivers across the nation, and Colorado’s teens are no exception. Data from the Colorado State Patrol illustrates alarming trends in teen speeding statistics. In 2021 alone, 9,240 speeding citations were issued by troopers to drivers between 16-21 across the state. And, teens illustrated other concerning trends while behind the wheel as illustrated by other causal factors for at-fault citations in this age range including:  distracted driving, following too closely, lane violation and failure to yield right of way.

Nationally, speed is a leading factor in 27% of the fatal crashes that involved passenger vehicle teen drivers (15-18 years old), according to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There is also evidence from naturalistic driving studies that teens' speeding behavior increases over time, possibly as they gain confidence.

While there are many factors that could contribute to teens’ desire to speed while behind the wheel, the bottom line is that it can often lead to irreversible consequences, and it is imperative that teens are provided with the tools necessary to have good, safe driving sense. In fact, taking a few extra minutes to get where they’re going safely is actually the much “cooler” option.