teen driver accidents

Teen Driver Accidents: Facts and Statistics

Teens will be anxious to get their hands on a pair of car keys as soon as they get their driver’s license. But, it’s important for parents to understand the dangers their kids face on the road before letting them get behind the wheel.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal accident rate per mile traveled is three times higher for drivers between the ages of 16-19 than it is for drivers that are at least 20 years old. Nearly 3,000 teens were killed in car accidents in 2016, and thousands more suffered serious injuries. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that the road can be a very dangerous place for teen drivers. Take a look at these statistics related to teen driver accidents to learn more:

teen driver accidents

Teens and Distracted Driving

It’s no secret that distracted driving is dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distracted driving is responsible for 15% of all crashes involving injuries and 10% of all crashes with fatalities. Sadly, many of these fatal accidents involve teen drivers. The NHTSA revealed that about 9% of teen drivers who were killed in traffic accidents were distracted at the time of the crash.

Teens know that distracted driving is dangerous. For example, over 90% of teens admitted that they are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. Despite this awareness, over one-third of teens admit that they send or check texts while driving.

Many teens think they are capable of safely using their cell phones while driving because they are master multitaskers. But, it’s important for teens to realize that they are four times more likely than adult drivers to get into an accident while texting or talking on the phone.

The Dangers of Underage Drinking and Driving

The legal drinking age is 21, but that doesn’t stop many teens from consuming alcohol. Drinking alcohol is risky enough, but when it is combined with driving, it becomes far more dangerous. According to MADD, about one-quarter of all car accidents with teens involve underage drinking and driving. Many of the drivers involved in these accidents suffer fatal injuries. As a matter of fact, 17% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2014 had a BAC above the legal limit at the time of the crash.

Overall, teenage drivers are less likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, the teenage drivers that do drive while intoxicated are at a much higher risk of getting into an accident than intoxicated adult drivers.

teen driver accidents

Driving With Other Passengers in the Car

Parents may feel more comfortable when their teen has someone else in the car with them—especially if they are driving at night. But, studies have shown that driving with other passengers in the car can actually put teens in danger. Teen drivers that are alone in the vehicle are at a lower risk of getting into an accident than teen drivers who have other teens in the car. The risk of getting into an accident slightly increases for every passenger in the car. Therefore, a teen driver with two teen passengers in the car is more likely to get into an accident than a teen driver with only one passenger.

Passengers can be distracting, which is why it’s best for parents to limit the number of people who are allowed to drive with their teen.

Teens Need to Buckle Up

Numerous studies have shown that seat belts can save lives, but unfortunately, many teens are not buckling up. In fact, teens are less likely to use seat belts than drivers or passengers in any other age group. The fact that a lot of teens don’t wear seat belts could explain why so many teens often suffer fatal or life-threatening injuries in car accidents.

There are many reasons why teens may choose to not wear their seat belts. Some teens fail to wear their seat belts because they are intoxicated. As a matter of fact, 70% of teen drivers who were involved in accidents with underage drinking were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

The good news is that parents can convince their teens to buckle up. It’s estimated that teen drivers are twice as likely to wear their seat belt when their parents are actively involved in their lives and encouraging them to be safe drivers.

Crash vs. Accidents

In many studies, researchers tend to use the words “accidents” and “crashes” interchangeably to describe any motor collision–whether it’s due to car failure, driver failure, or a matter of unlucky circumstances. However, as early as 1997 the National Traffic Safety Administration started a campaign that the word crash should be used exclusively for  avoidable traffic events. When a teen driver drives drunk, texts while driving, or is otherwise distracted–all of this avoidable behavior. These decisions can lead to irreversible and traumatic consequences that not only put your teen at risk, but can change the lives of everyone on the road around them.

A Look At Important Teen Driver Accidents Crash Facts and Statistics

  • 11 teens die everyday as a result of texting and driving.
  • Everyday, six teens between the ages of 16-19 suffer fatal injuries in car accidents.
  • About one-quarter of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking.
  • The crash rate per mile traveled is about three times higher for newly licensed drivers compared to 18-19 year old drivers.
  • In 2015, it was estimated that only 61% of high school students wear their seat belts.

Want to know the best way to stop teen driver accidents before they start? Check out Focus by TeenDrive.

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