Teen drivers, because of their age and experience behind the wheel, are inherently more risky than adult drivers, but specific factors increase a teen’s likelihood of a crash. From speeding to distractions, when teenagers engage in these risky behaviors, they are much more likely to crash. Parents need to be aware of these risks so they can educate their young drivers on safe driving behavior.
Speeding Is a Top Cause of Crashes Among Teen Drivers
In 2016, speeding was a factor in 32 percent of the crashes involving teen drivers that ended in a fatality. Between the years of 2000 and 2011, 19,447 teen driver crashes involved speeding. Teenagers are likely to speed because of fears of being late or because of poor experience controlling speed on the road. Several National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies have found that a teen driver’s speeding behavior decreases with experience behind the wheel, so parents should monitor their teenagers closely in the first months that they have their licenses.
Distracted Driving Adds to the Problem
When a driver is distracted by a phone or something in the vehicle, the risk of a crash increases significantly. If that driver is a teen, the risk of crashing is 23 times higher. Phones are not the only culprits in this, either. Fiddling with the in-car entertainment system or GPS is a form of distraction. Even drinking or eating in the car is a distraction. Some teens are distracted by trying to put on makeup or fix their hair. Parents should teach their young drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times.
Adding Passengers Could Be Detrimental
Finally, the addition of passengers to the vehicle makes it more likely that the teen will be involved in a crash. With just one teenage peer in the car, a driver’s risk of a crash is 2.5 times higher. The additional friend makes it more likely for the teen to engage in risky behaviors. The risk of a crash actually increases with the addition of each teenage peer, so two or three passengers is riskier than just one.
Those who are injured in a crash involving a teenage driver can work with a car accident lawyer to understand how these factors could have impacted the crash.