Teens and Car Accidents
July 22, 2019
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, with six adolescents between 16-and-19-years-old dying because of crash-related injuries each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers are almost three-times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drivers who are 20-years-old or older.
Teen Driving Data: General Info, Risk Groups, and Factors
The CDC reported more than 2,400 teens killed in automobile accidents in 2016, and nearly 300,000 others who needed emergency medical care for their crash-related injuries. Some teens face higher risks for car accidents than others do. Some of the most at-risk groups of teenage drivers are:
- Newly licensed drivers. For example, newly licensed drivers between 16 and 17-years-old are almost two-times as likely to be in a fatal crash than 18-to-19-year-old drivers are;
- Teen drivers with teen passengers in their vehicle. Having teen passengers in a vehicle driven by an unsupervised adolescent greatly increases the risk for getting into deadly accidents (this is actually one of the biggest risk factors for teen car accidents), and:
- Motor vehicle death rates for teenage male drivers are two times that of teenage female drivers
A number of factors that contribute to teen motor vehicle crashes. Knowing about these risk factors – as well as talking to teens about driving even before they get their permits or licenses (and during) – is one of the best ways to promote responsible behaviors and to limit preventable accidents.
Teen Crashes: Risk Factors
It is important to talk to teens about driving responsibly and following all posted speed limits and laws. Data from the CDC shows that approximately 15% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or higher. Although having any amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal for teen drivers, data shows that adolescents under the influence are more likely to be in deadly crashes than older drivers are. Talk to your teen driver about the deadly dangers associated with drinking (or doing drugs) and driving – as well as how they should never ride as a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who is under the influence.
Other known risk factors include:
- Not wearing a seat belt. Out of all other age groups, teens display the lowest rate of seat belt use (less than 60% say they wear seat belts when riding in cars as passengers);
- Speeding and not leaving enough distance (or “headway”) between vehicles, and:
- Weekends and time of day. More than half the fatal crashes that occur happen on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, and nearly half of all crashes happen between the hours of 3p.m. and midnight.
As you can tell, many of these risk factors are preventable. If you have a teen driver (or one who may be driving soon), now is the time to talk to them about safety and being accountable for good driving behaviors.
What Can Parents Do? Check Out the CDC’s “Parents Are the Key” Campaign
Parents are one of the best lines of defense against teenage car accidents, which is why the CDC has a campaign called “Parents Are the Key”. The campaign details the importance of parents educating themselves on teen driving hazards and the leading causes of teen motor vehicle crashes, and provides resources for creating a Parent-Teen Driving Agreements. To learn more about Parent-Teen Driving Agreements or to access other useful data and tips from the CDC, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/parents/index.html.
Allentown Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Victims of Teen Accidents
If you have a legal question or concern, please contact our Allentown car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.