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Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

Teen Driving Crash Statistics

Vehicular accidents are the second leading cause of death for teens aged 13-19. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2,400 U.S. teens died and 258,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2019. Other statistics regarding teen driving and collisions include:

  • Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the greatest risk of being involved in an accident. Per mile driven, teens in this age bracket are three times more likely than drivers 20 years old (or older) to be involved in a fatal crash.
  • Teenage male drivers are two times more likely than female teens to be involved in a fatal accident.
  • Unsupervised teenage drivers are at a greater risk of getting into a car accident if they have a teenage or young passenger in the car, and the odds increase with each additional passenger.
  • Teens are at the greatest risk of being in an accident during their first few months of having a driver’s license.
  • Accidents involving teen drivers most commonly occurred in the nighttime (between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m.).

What Are the Causes of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers?

Here are some of the main reasons that teenagers are involved in vehicle accidents.

  • Speeding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding was a factor in 27% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers in 2019. Speeding can decrease the time needed to make a complete stop and can be especially dangerous during inclement weather conditions. Safety tip: monitor your teenager’s speed and other driving habits. Many new cars have features where parents can set a maximum speed for a vehicle using an app. Even if your teen doesn’t have a new car, you can use apps like DriveScribe, Life360, or DriveSafe to monitor their speed.
  • Inexperience/immaturity. Because they are new drivers and do not have a lot of experience as well as their lack of maturity, teen drivers often make driving mistakes. Teens also engage in reckless driving behaviors when they first obtain their license. Safety tip: prioritize education and set ground rules. Even if your teenager takes a driving class, you should not only model good driving habits but also consider setting aside more time for lessons and practice. You can also set ground rules concerning how you expect them to act and behave while driving. Ground rules can include guidelines concerning how many passengers they have, the times of day they can drive, etc.
  • Distractions. While taking calls or dialing the phone and texting are the most talked-about forms of distracted driving, teen drivers can be distracted by a variety of activities, including but not limited to grooming, eating, recording a TikTok, or changing their music playlists. Any activity that takes your attention from the road is dangerous and can lead to an accident. Safety tip: have consequences for distracted driving for both parents and teens. Parents should lead by example and discourage their teens from having distractions while driving. Be consistent in your messaging and rules and consider punishing them (with loss of screen time, limited phone privileges, driving restrictions, etc.) if you discover they have driven distracted.
  • Passengers. Teenage drivers can be distracted by passengers or even encouraged to drive recklessly by their passengers, especially if they are also young or teenagers. Statistics from the NHTSA show that teens are three times more likely to engage in risky behaviors with multiple passengers present than when driving alone. Safety tip: encourage safe driving practices. As we’ve already mentioned having rules and consequences, which can help discourage recklessness, parents of teenage drivers should also remember to teach their teens about best practices and the dangers of taking risks.
  • Driving while under the influence. Many teen driving accidents occur because of underage drinking and driving while impaired. According to CDC data, teens are more likely to die in alcohol-related accidents than any other age group. Safety tip: tell your teenager that they can always call you. While you may still punish them, remind your teen that they should call you to ask for a ride before driving intoxicated or getting into a car with someone who has been using drugs or drinking.
  • Not using seatbelts. Most teens killed in car accidents weren’t wearing a seatbelt; only 55% of teens in fatal accidents in 2019 wore a seatbelt. Safety tip: remind your teen to buckle up. Under Connecticut law, drivers, front-seat passengers, and rear-seat passengers aged four to sixteen years old must wear a seatbelt. In addition to being legally required to wear a seatbelt, you can also remind your teen how life-saving a seatbelt can be.
  • Drowsiness. Teens have a lot of responsibilities; from working to studying to enjoying time with friends to participating in sports or an extracurricular activity, your teenager may feel spread thin and tired. Driving drowsy can also lead to an accident as drivers lose focus, fall asleep at the wheel, or struggle to see and operate the vehicle. Safety tip: remind your teen to get some rest. Take time to make sure your teenager is getting a good amount of sleep and taking the time they need to rest. While teen drivers in Connecticut cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (unless it’s for work or school), you may also want to enforce a driving curfew or driving time restrictions.

Contact Our Firm Today

At Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa P.C., our attorneys have over 100 years of collective experience, and we are known for providing our clients with high-quality, compassionate legal services. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, we can help you bring a case forward and maximize your compensation. Our attorneys can also help you understand whether you have a case, establish liability, and calculate your damages. Let us handle the case legalities while you take the time you need to heal (physically and mentally).

Schedule a case consultation today by calling (203) 583-8299 or reaching out online today.