Insight

Are Teenage Drivers More Likely to be in a Car Accident?

Teenagers are more likely to be in car accidents due to driving inexperience. But what are the other factors, and what can be done to help?

Teenage Drivers and Car Accidents
JS

Jason Stephens

May 6, 2020 08:00 AM

You may need to think again before letting your teenager drive. The leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds are motor vehicle crashes. In fact, teenage drivers are three times more likely to get into a car accident than other drivers over the age of 20.

How bad is the problem?

Teenage car accidents are a serious problem. It is estimated that six teens are killed a day in a motor vehicle crash. The issue is also growing. In 2017, the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that fatalities in teen car crashes were on the rise. While the assumption is that drivers over the age of 80 are more likely to get in a crash, the reality is that teenagers get in wrecks more often than even the oldest of drivers.

In the U.S. in 2017, teenagers between the ages of 16 to 19 represented 6.5 percent of the population. Over 2,300 of those teens were killed in a car accident that year and over 300,000 more were treated for injuries in emergency departments. Fatal and non-fatal vehicle crashes for this age group, which is about 8 percent of all car crashes that year, cost about $13 billion.

What are the risk factors?

Teenagers, in general, are more likely to be in a car accident than more experienced drivers. The main cause of this is driver inexperience. Other risk factors make a vehicle crash more likely for teenage drivers. These include:

  • New drivers: This is especially true for drivers who just received their licenses. The first month of driving after obtaining a new license can be particularly dangerous.
  • Male teenagers: In 2017, male teens were twice as likely to be in a car accident than females the same age.
  • Alcohol use: This increases the risk of accidents, regardless of the driver’s age. Still, teenagers die at a high rate in vehicle crashes when alcohol is involved.
  • Seatbelts: Not wearing a seatbelt makes any driver more likely to experience injuries or a fatality. However, teenagers are more likely to not use a seatbelt than more experienced drivers. In 2017, less than 60 percent of teens surveyed stated they used a seatbelt. Of all teenage car crash fatalities that year, almost half were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Teens driving with friends in the car: Having friends in the car increases the chances of an accident because they can easily make the driver distracted. The more teenagers in the car, the more likely an accident may occur.
  • Cell phone use: Not only is driving new to a young teenager, but they may also be dealing with the novelty of having their first cell phone. These two in combination could be disastrous. Cell phone use is a notorious form of distracted driving that increases the chances of an accident.

There are also risk factors for teenagers depending on when they drive. For example, over 50 percent of teenage fatalities from car accidents occur on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Also, more than 40 percent of these deaths occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The conclusion is that teenagers are more likely to get into a car accident on the weekends and late at night or early morning.

Is there any good news?

Yes, a lot of motor vehicle crashes involving teenagers can be prevented. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parents are the key to making sure their teenagers drive safely and avoid car accidents. They also recommend that parents make a driving contract with their teenagers before giving over the keys. Let the teenager know what behaviors you expect and what you prohibit. Outline clear punishments if the breach the contract.

The CDC outlines eight danger zones that parents can focus on to help lower the risk of a crash. Some advice includes:

  • Make sure your teenage driver has time and experience practicing driving before they are allowed to do it on their own.
  • Restrict or limit certain activities like driving with friends or driving at night or on the weekends.
  • Do not let them drive if they don’t wear their seatbelt.
  • Teach them about distracted driving and how using a cell phone can cause a crash. If you catch them driving and texting or using their phone, take it away for a specific amount of time to ensure they cannot drive and use it.
  • Make sure they know all the laws of driving. Also, make sure they know what the punishments are for breaking the law if they get stopped by a police officer.
  • Even one alcoholic drink can increase the chances of a teenager being in a car crash. Make sure that they never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Jason Stephens is a personal injury lawyer and founder of Stephens Law, PLLC, a personal injury firm serving Fort Worth, TX, Weatherford, TX, and the surrounding areas.

Related Articles

Why You Should Never Admit Fault After a Car Accident in Philadelphia


by Ryan Zavodnick

It Will Hurt Your Insurance Claims

Never Admit Fault After a Car Accident

Are Cell Phones to Blame for a Rise in Rear-End Car Accidents?


by Michele Mirman

Distracted Driving Is Causing More Accidents

Cell Phones and Rear-End Car Accidents?

Why Expert Help Is Essential After a Car Accident


by Ted Lorenz

An Attorney Can Help Investigate After an Accident

A Legal Expert Can Help After A Car Accident

Leading Cause of Car Accidents in Alabama? Failing to Yield the Right of Way


by Mitchel Lattof

Failing to yield the right of way was the leading cause of car accidents in Alabama in 2018. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, failing to yield the right of way resulted in 23,832 crashes. Ninety-six of those crashes resulted in fatalities.

Shards of car glass on the street

Trial Law Leadership


by Justin Smulison

Daniel J.T. Sciano, twice-named Best Lawyers® San Antonio “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs (2010, 2012), discusses how his record of success impacts clients and Texas’ legal community

Daniel Sciano Best Lawyers 2020

Big Case Warriors


by Best Lawyers

The co-founders of Lyons & Simmons, LLP discuss their relentless dedication to pursuing justice for clients while also invoking change.

Lyons & Simmons Best Lawyers 2020

A Trial Icon


by Sean Stonefield

Dan Cogdell on his almost four decades of courtroom success.

Dan Cogdell Best Lawyers 2020

Brophy & Devaney, PLLC


by Best Lawyers

Joseph F. Brophy embraces his reputations for his zealous representation of his clients and is passionate about learning their businesses and problems and ensuring that their rights are protected and their interests are maximized, whether by way of litigation or transaction.

Joseph Brophy Best Lawyers 2020

What Are the Anti-Protest Laws in the U.S.?


by Jim Owen

The First Amendment includes the right to assemble. But how are the rules surrounding protesting changing?

Anti-Protest Laws in the U.S.

How to Digitally Market Your Law Firm


by dNovo Group

In the digital age, everyone is online. So it's important to make sure your results pop up first. This digital marketing agency gives SEO tips specifically for lawyers.

How SEO is Different for Lawyers in Toronto

Why It's a Bad Idea to Admit Fault After an Accident in Georgia


by Stephen Hasner

Car accidents are complicated. Here's why you should avoid admitting fault.

Admitting Fault After an Accident in Georgia

One Reason Why Uber Is Fighting to Classify Drivers as Contractors


by Stephen Hasner

How Workers' Compensation Is Setting Up a Legal Battle

 Why Uber Wants Drivers as Contractors

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee


by Stacey Reginald Ball

Mediation, Negotiation, Lawsuit

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee

Truck Safety Watchdogs


by Best Lawyers

Unqualified, Poorly Trained Truck Drivers and Unsafe Trucks Heighten Roadway Dangers

Truck Safety and Roadway Dangers

Carrying the Torch While Raising the Bar


by Sharen L. Nocella

Catherine Pyune McEldowney makes waves as one of the few Asian-American women at the pinnacle of a U.S. law firm.

Asian-American Representation in Law

Car Accident Compensation in Florida


by Peter Catania

Are you curious about how to maximize your compensation after a car accident? These steps can help. Learn more here.

Car Accident Compensation in Florida

Trending Articles

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 16th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ and 1st Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™

Why Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos Developed Its Own Legal Tech


by Best Lawyers

Juan Pablo Matus of Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos, 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for Corporate and M&A Law in Chile, discusses his firm's joint venture with Cognitiva in creating Lexnova, a legal AI system.

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos Interview

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch – The Future of Legal Talent Looks Bright


by Justin Smulison

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is launching its second edition in the United States, and after talking with both a company leader and esteemed lawyers on the list, the importance of this prestigious list is evident.

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America 2022

Education by Trial: Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom


by Margo Pierce

The intricacies of complex lawsuits require extensive knowledge of the legal precedent. But they also demand a high level of skill in every discipline needed to succeed at trial, such as analyzing technical reports and deposing expert witnesses.

Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom

How A Claim Can Create A ‘Class’ of Its Own


by Justin Smulison

One civil claim can help a victim recover, prevent others from the same harm and even save lives. Tom Connick has experienced this directly, having been at the ground floor of injury claims that have led to high-value class action settlements.

Fire Consuming Paper Money

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australia


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australi

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Georgia Laws Taking Effect in 2022


by Gregory Sirico

Three new pieces of Georgia legislation aim to improve medical bill transparency, lower the sales tax on vehicles and enact further safeguards to protect children in foster care.

New Georgia Laws Enacted in 2022