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Teens at highest risk for fatal crashes

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Any parent of a teenager knows that your insurance rates go up sharply once your kid starts driving. This added expense is a burden, and it’s annoying, but unfortunately, there’s a good reason for it: Compared to more mature drivers, young drivers are at much higher risk of getting into serious car accidents.

When researchers break down accident statistics by age groups of the drivers involved, they find drivers 16-19 face a higher risk of crashes than any other group. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers aged 16-19 are three times more likely than older drivers to be in a fatal traffic accident.

There are many reasons for this increased risk. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to misjudge braking distances and to fail to notice hazards on the road. There’s also the matter of driver distraction: Since teenage drivers so often have friends in the vehicle with them, they may be distracted by other boisterous teenagers. Even if they are driving alone, they may be distracted by digital devices. Drivers of all ages can be distracted by smartphones, but the social lives of teenagers can make communication devices especially distracting.

Sadly, underage drinking plays a role in many of these accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2018 alcohol was a factor in at least 16% of fatal traffic accidents involving drivers ages 15-18.

Safety recommendations

Safety advocates have come up with numerous recommendations to help prevent accidents among teenage drivers. Some tips include telling drivers to wear seatbelts, to avoid alcohol and to turn off their phones or to put them in “Do Not Disturb” mode before they get behind the wheel. These may be good ideas for all kinds of drivers.

Until young drivers start following these recommendations more closely, they remain at higher risk than other drivers. And, sadly, they may put other drivers on the road at risk, as well.