Car Accidents: Leading Cause of Death for Teens
March 18, 2021
Car crashes are the number one leading cause of teen deaths. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 2,500 teens between the ages of 13 and 19-years-old died in motor vehicle crashes, and another 285,000 sustained serious injuries requiring emergency medical treatment. With numbers this high (approximately seven adolescents die in collisions every day), keeping teens safe behind the wheel is not just a priority, it is also a public health concern.
Adolescent Crash Data
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens face disproportionately high fatal crash risks for several reasons. As new drivers, some of the most impactful factors for teens are their immaturity, lack of experience, and lack of skills. Not having years of experience behind the wheel increases the chances for making deadly mistakes like being distracted while driving or engaging in other risky behaviors, driving aggressively, and speeding.
Here are some other important teen driving statistics from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the NHTSA:
- Novice drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a deadly crash
- Teens between the ages of 16 and 19-years-old are more likely to get into car accidents than individuals in any other age group
- Approximately three-quarters of teen car crashes result from making certain “critical errors”, like failing to scan the roadway for hazards, going too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something (or someone) inside or outside the vehicle
- The most common types of crashes that teens get into involve rear-end events, making left turns, and driving off the road
- Dialing a phone number increases a teen’s risk for getting into a crash by six times and texting increases crash risks by 23 times
- The more passengers there are in a vehicle, the greater the chances are for getting into a catastrophic accident. Teens are as much as three-times as likely to participate in unsafe driving behaviors when they have multiple passengers inside their vehicle
- Speed is a factor in greater than 30% of annual teen driving deaths. Data also suggests that teens are more likely to speed as they become more and more comfortable behind the wheel
Ways to Protect Teen Drivers and Passengers
Luckily, there are a variety of effective ways to limit adolescent crash risks. One of the most tried-and-true methods is a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, which is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The NHTSA reports that GDL systems can reduce teen crash risks by 50%. For example, most states have GDL laws in place that prohibit teens from using their cell phones when they are driving. Some GDL laws also restrict teens from driving at nighttime and even limit the number of passengers that a younger, more inexperienced driver can have in his or her vehicle. To learn more about what the GDL laws are in your state, visit: https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/teen%20and%20novice%20drivers.
Another way to protect teenage drivers is to be involved and lead by a good example. It is critical to discuss what the rules and responsibilities of driving are (and what the laws are, too). This includes having serious, honest conversations about the dangers of being distracted, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and driving drowsy. Some parents decide to make a contract with their teen drivers, like the CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Contract you can view here: https://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf. It is also worth mentioning that if you are considering buying your teen a personal vehicle, you may want to hold off. According to data from the NHTSA, teens are less likely to drive dangerously in a family vehicle than they are in their own.
Was Your Teen Injured in an Accident?
Despite being more prone to making dangerous mistakes behind the wheel than older, more experienced drivers are, not every accident that teens drivers get into in are their fault. If your teen driver sustained injuries in an automobile accident, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney who can examine the case from every angle. Car crash victims are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, and for any pain and suffering that resulted from the incident.
Galfand Berger, LLP represents car crash victims. In one instance, our client was left paralyzed from the injuries they experienced in a major collision. Not only did our attorneys pursue the client’s case against the at-fault driver who hit our client head-on, but also against the automobile manufacturer for a defective seatbelt and the overall crash-worthiness of the vehicle. We recovered $4,500,000 for our client. You can read more about this recovery and others here. To find out more about filing a personal injury claim after a car accident, contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Car Accident Victims Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.