There are many kinds of dangerous drivers on our roads, but teen drivers are statistically the most dangerous. Teen drivers often lack the experience, the impulse control, and the insight necessary to drive as safely as possible. As a result, teen driving features far too prominently in far too many car accident statistics. If a teen driver’s negligence has left you or someone you love injured in a car accident in Georgia, consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney at the Mark Casto Law Firm at 706-450-7071 for a confidential consultation.
Teen Driving: The Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the number two cause of death for teens in the United States. Consider the following facts:
- In 2019 alone, nearly 2,400 teenagers (between the ages of 13 and 19) lost their lives in car accidents
- Also in 2019, approximately 258,000 teenagers (between the ages of 13 and 19) suffered injuries in car accidents that were severe enough to require emergency treatment
- Every day, about seven teenagers are killed and hundreds more are injured in car accidents throughout the country
- In 2018, teenage traffic fatalities (for those between the ages of 15 and 19) led to approximately $4.8 billion in medical expenses and lost wages
- The crash statistics are even more alarming during the early months of driving. From 2016 to 2017, the crash rate per mile driven by motorists who were 16 years old was 1.5 times higher than it was for motorists who were 18 to 19 years old
The Insurance Information Institute (III) adds the following additional teen driving statistics:
- In 2019, 1,603 teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 lost their lives in car accidents
- 880 passengers of these teen drivers were fatally injured
- 1,250 occupants of other vehicles were killed by these young motorists
- 483 people who were not vehicle occupants, such as pedestrians, were killed by these inexperienced drivers
- In 2018, motorists between the ages of 16 and 20 represented the smallest percentage of all age groups at 5.2 percent but had the highest involvement rate in fatal traffic accidents
Exploring the Risk Factors
The CDC shares that teen drivers are less equipped to recognize risky driving situations than more experienced drivers are, and they are more likely to underestimate the dangers associated with those conditions. Teens are also more likely to err when making critical decisions related to driving than experienced adult drivers are, leaving them more vulnerable to causing serious car accidents. These teen driving risks only increase at night, according to the following:
- While nighttime driving is more dangerous for all drivers, it can be particularly risky when the person behind the wheel is a teenager
- Per mile driven, teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents at night than adult drivers between the ages of 30 and 59
- In 2019, 40 percent of all teenage traffic fatalities (for those between the ages of 13 and 19) happened between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- A majority 52 percent of those fatalities happened on either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
Another risk factor is the increased propensity of teens to not wear seat belts as compared to other age groups.
Teenagers are notoriously distractible, and their inexperience compounds the immensely dangerous practice of distracted driving. The CDC provides the following eye-opening examples:
- Distractions reduce every motorist’s ability to proceed safely, but distractions tend to be even more risky for teen drivers
- According to a 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey at the national level, 39 percent of those high school students who drove in 2019 had texted at least once while behind the wheel in the 30 days prior to the survey—as reported by the teens themselves
When motorists exceed the posted speed limit or fail to drive at a speed that carefully takes the condition of the road into account, they increase the chances that an accident will occur and increase the risk that it will be deadly. Unfortunately, teens are even more likely to engage in this singularly dangerous practice. Consider the following related statistics from the CDC:
- In 2019, 31 percent of male drivers and 17 percent of female drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years old who were involved in traffic fatalities were speeding at the time of the accident
- Teen drivers are significantly more likely than experienced drivers not only to speed dangerously but also to leave too little following distance between their own vehicles and the vehicles in front of them
While it is illegal for teenagers to drink in the first place, this does not stop alcohol from playing a significant role in teen driving statistics, according to the CDC, including:
- Any amount of alcohol consumption increases the risk that teenagers will be involved in car accidents
- In 2019, 24 percent of those teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were killed in fatal car accidents had been drinking
- In 2019, 15 percent of teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were involved in fatal car accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was over the legal limit for adults in virtually every state, including Georgia
Seek Legal Guidance from a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
Teen driving comes with considerable risk. If you or someone you care about has been injured—or worse—by the negligence of a teen driver, an experienced Georgia car accident attorney is standing by to help. Consider contacting the Mark Casto Law Firm by calling 706-450-7071 today to schedule a consultation to learn more about your legal rights.