It is easy to feel invincible when you’re young, but sadly, nothing is further from the truth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, with the rate of crashes higher among teens between 16 and 19 years old than any other age group. With school back in session and an influx of teen drivers on the road, the dangers of teen driving can easily impact drivers of all ages.
The top 8 risk factors for teen driving are:
Teen drivers have very little experience compared to older drivers. Thus, it is much more likely for them to get into a crash due to their lack of driving experience, whether that means while turning, changing lanes, merging on to the freeway, etc.
- Nighttime and weekend driving
Driver inexperience combined with nighttime and weekend driving—in other words, driving in conditions with low visibility (at night) or with a lot of other cars on the road (on the weekend)—is a recipe for disaster.
- Not using seat belts
Data from the CDC shows that in 2019, at least 48% of teen drivers and passengers between 16 and 19 years old who died in traffic crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time.
Teen drivers are more likely to speed than older drivers. In 2018, 30% of male and 18% of female teen drivers (between 15 and 20 years old) involved in fatal crashes were found to be speeding. These percentages, as reported by the CDC, were the highest for both sexes among all age demographics.
- Alcohol use
Although the legal drinking age is 21 years old, many teens drink alcohol illegally at parties or in other places with their friends. Then, they get behind the wheel and attempt to drive home. Like for any age group, drinking and driving can be fatal. Per the CDC, the risk is higher for teens than it is for older drivers, even when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the same.
- Distracted driving
Similar to drinking and driving, distracted driving is dangerous for all age groups but particularly dangerous for teens. The problem is only exacerbated by the fact that teen drivers are highly likely to text or email while driving. Per the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 39.0% of the U.S. high school drivers surveyed admitted to either texting or emailing while driving at least once in the past 30 days.
- Extra passengers
Having a responsible passenger in the car can help many drivers avoid accidents; however, having another teenager in the car increases a teen driver’s chances of getting into a fatal accident eightfold.
- Stress and fatigue
College applications, high school studies, an active social and family life, and a part-time job can easily lead to stress and fatigue for older teenagers. While many of us may not associate this time of our lives with stress and fatigue, the truth is that many older teens are overworked and sleep deprived. When these teens hit the road, stress and fatigue and inexperience can compound on one another and lead to an accident.
Unfortunately, driving hazards do not exist in a vacuum. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a negligent driver, our trial attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP will work to recover your full compensation. We have won billions of dollars for our clients, helping them move on after another’s negligence left them severely injured.
Call our Los Angeles trial law firm at (866) 634-4525 or reach us onlineto book a free case review.