Car crashes remain leading cause of death of teenagers

NEGAUNEE — Crashes are the number one killer of teenagers, we’ve seen several here in the Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan State Police is hoping to change this.

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death of teenagers each year.

5,864 teen drivers between the ages 15–20 were involved in fatal car accidents.

Michigan State Police says one of the biggest problems they see is teenagers underestimating how fast they are going.

“What we see is teens are in a rush to get to their destination and they tend to get tunnel vision and they forget about the stop signs, the yield signs, and the traffic lights. By allowing more time that will help them get there and not get that tunnel vision,” said Stacy Rasanen, Michigan State Police.

With social media and texting playing such a big part in teenagers lives. Cell phone distraction is what is on everyone’s mind, but there is one law to help protect teenagers from using their cell phones behind the wheel.

“We have Kelseys Law, where you should not be on your phone. It is against the law if we do catch them on the phone, they can be ticketed. The best thing to do is that if you need to check your phone, pull over to the side of the road into a parking lot where its safe and do it there,” Rasanen added.

It is recommended that parents have an open conversation with their teenagers about driving and have them practice in a parking lot, before hitting the busy roads and highways.

“The parent needs to go over the materials and make sure they practice and do it well. So when they go out and take their road test, they get it done and get it done well,” said Rasanen.

Teenagers should also make sure they are getting enough sleep before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

From Negaunee, I’m Jordan Gulkis reporting for abc te and the cw 5.