Teen Roadway Safety: Dangerous Driving Behaviors to Avoid
November 12, 2022
One of the biggest moments in a teenager’s life is getting their driver’s license, but far too many young drivers are injured or killed in car accidents each year. According to Safe Kids Worldwide (SKW), a global non-profit organization tasked with preventing childhood injury through research, community outreach, legislative advocacy and media awareness campaigns, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, ahead of all other types of violence, injury or disease. Certain driving behaviors are especially risky, so if your teenager has their license or is getting one soon, be sure to check out the life-saving safety tips we compiled below.
Teen Driving Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent data demonstrates a 17% increase in the number of young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20-years-old who died in car accidents in 2020 as compared to the previous year. Altogether, 1,885 young drivers lost their lives. One of the top reasons that young drivers are more likely to get into motor vehicle accidents is due to their lack of driving experience. They are also more prone to engaging in potentially reckless and impulse behaviors; when behind the wheel, this is a particularly lethal combination.
The NHTSA’s data also shows that teen drivers are more likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents than adult drivers when they are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, riding with their peers, or when they are using a cell phone. Here are some examples from the NHTSA of dangerous driving behaviors that teens are notorious for engaging in — and that older, more experienced and more responsible drivers should teach them to avoid at all times:
- Not wearing a seat belt. In 2019, nearly half of high school students nationwide reported that they did not wear a seat belt in the last month
- Fatalities among passengers of teenage drivers increased by 22% between 2019 and 2020
- That same year, 7% of young drivers involved in deadly crashes were distracted at the time of the incident
- More than 75% of serious teen driver crashes result from three critical errors: the lack of screening that someone needs to respond to hazards in a timely manner, going too fast for certain roadway conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle
- Most newly-licensed teen drivers graduate their learner’s permit period with some major skill deficits, which means they are more likely to get into crashes than drivers who have more experience. Most crashes that involve adolescents involve rear-end events, running off the road, and making left turns
Common Car Accident Injuries in Young Drivers and Passengers
More than 250,000 teens in the United States are treated by healthcare professionals in emergency departments for injuries that they sustain in motor vehicle crashes every year. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), 60% of pediatric spinal fractures that occur in children between the ages of 15 and 17-years-old coincide with the beginning of their driver’s licensing. It is also important to note that nearly two-thirds of these spinal fractures present in teens who were not wearing a seat belt during the accident. Spinal fractures are by no means the only significant injuries that young drivers and their passengers fall victim to in motor vehicle collisions; here are some other examples of common injuries they sustain:
- External and/or internal bruising
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Scars and disfiguration
- Limb loss
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder from the accident
Ways to Keep Teen Drivers Safe
If you have a teenage driver or a teen who rides in cars with their peers as a passenger, it is important to talk to them about how to avoid getting into an accident. According to SKW, here are some top ways that teens in cars have the best chance of reaching their destination safely:
- Always follow the speed limit
- Buckle up! Every person, every ride
- Never text and drive. Do not engage in any other dangerous distractions, such as eating, drinking, talking on the phone, or fiddling with the navigation system
- Speak up if a driver is driving unsafely, like if they are driving aggressively, speeding, engaging with distractions, etc.
- Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
Filing a Legal Claim: We Can Help
If your teen sustained injuries in a car accident because of another driver, someone at our firm can help. Our attorneys have decades of experience addressing financial areas that often present themselves after an automobile accident and that a family may need assistance recouping, such as medical bills, continued medical care, lost wages (like if a parent or guardian loses time for work while providing care for their injured teen), pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Here are a few examples of automobile accident cases that our firm has litigated:
- Our client suffered extensive injuries and was left paralyzed after another driver struck them head-on. Our attorneys pursued the case against not only the at-fault driver, but also against the automobile manufacturer for the crashworthiness of the vehicle and for a defective seat belt. We recovered $4,500,000.00 for our permanently injured client. Learn more about this recovery here.
- Our client was struck by a tractor-trailer struck on an inter-state highway. Our client sustained significant injuries, which resulted in amputation of both his legs below the knee. Our team investigated the incident and determined that the brakes on the trailer were worn out and that the tires were bald. Our attorneys also proved that the trucker’s log was inaccurate and that he was driving excessive hours. We recovered $3,000,000.00 on behalf of our client, which you can learn more about here.
To learn more about filing a car accident claim, contact a representative at our firm online who can help now.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.