Numerous studies have shown that teen drivers are particularly at risk for car accidents resulting in injury, both here in Missouri and nationwide. In this post, our Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers share ten facts and statistics about teen drivers and the various factors that contribute to these often-serious crashes.
Teen drivers and car accidents: Ten facts & statistics Missouri parents should know
1. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. The CDC reports that per mile driven, drivers between ages 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers age 20 and older.
3. An estimated 25% of teens in 9th through 11th grade have been involved in a crash resulting in injury within their lifetimes.
4. Because they lack driving experience, studies show that teen drivers are more likely to "underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations" than older drivers. Teen drivers are often more likely to speed and less likely to wear their seat belts.
5. In crashes caused by a teen driver's error, 21% happened due to a lack of scanning to detect and react to hazards; 21% happened because the teen driver was traveling too fast for roadway conditions; and 20% happened after the driver was distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle.
6. Distractedness is a prominent - and dangerous - problem among teen drivers. In a survey conducted by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 48% of teen respondents said they talk on a cell phone, at least occasionally, when they're behind the wheel. And 40% of American teenagers say they have ridden with a driver who used a cell phone in a dangerous way.
7. In a national government pool on risky behaviors, 58% of high school seniors admitted that they had texted or emailed while driving within the last month.
8. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many accidents involving teen drivers. Teens have a higher crash risk than older drivers at all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In a 2011 national survey, nearly one in four teens said they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking within the past 30 days.
9. Nighttime is an especially risky time for teen drivers to be on the road. The fatal crash rate for 16 year-old drivers is almost twice as high after dark.
10. Parental involvement is key to preventing teen accidents. Teens who say their parents set ground rules for driving and stayed involved in their driving education are half as likely to cause an accident.