Teen drivers are among the most distracted age group on the road, data shows. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15-to 20-year-olds were involved in more crashes in 2019 than any other age group. Teens are putting themselves at risk of having an accident while on the road when they pay more attention to their cellphone, friends, and other distractions while behind the wheel.
What worries some parents is that teens may not always realize how dangerous these distractions are and continue to engage them while driving. The good news is that you can talk with your teen and raise their awareness about distracted and reckless driving.
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The Top 5 Reasons Teens Get into Car Accidents
Teens learn to drive when they need to pass the driving test and get their driver’s license. However, this also means they have a higher chance of getting into car accidents. Most teens don’t think about the risks associated with driving and crashing a vehicle into someone else.
A traffic safety analysis put out by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that newly licensed adolescents between the ages of 16 and 17 are more likely to be in a fatal crash than adults. Whether it’s speeding down an interstate, “car surfing” on the car’s hood, or texting while driving, teens can ignore dangers while operating a vehicle. Here are the top five reasons why teens get into car accidents:
1. Little to No Driving Experience
Teens lack the experience that comes with time behind the wheel. As a result, they don’t know how to handle certain situations as older drivers do. Facing any emergency that requires quick thinking and action can be challenging for teens. Besides, they also have difficulty anticipating their reactions during an emergency if they haven’t faced one yet. For example, they don’t know how they will react if something happens suddenly, or someone cuts them off in traffic.
On the other hand, drivers over age 25 tend to make better decisions about driving in emergencies because they have been through more scenarios like these. Over time, they learn which actions are safe when on the road.
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2. Alcohol and Drug Use
Alcohol is a significant factor in teen accidents across the U.S. According to data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights, 5.4% of high-school teen drivers reported that they drove while drinking alcohol at least once in a 30-day period in 2019. While underage drinking is illegal, 24% of the drivers in the 15-to-20 age group died in fatal crashes after they had been drinking.
Many states have zero-tolerance policies for drinking and driving, regardless of a driver’s age. Still, even if teens don’t feel impaired, they can still be charged with a DUI (driving while under the influence) for driving with any amount of alcohol in their systems.
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3. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is when teens drive at a high rate of speed that can put themselves and other road users at the risk of getting into an accident. Conversely, if teens were to move slower, they could help prevent car accidents. They could also save lives by preventing injuries that occur in speeding-related accidents.
4. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents for teens and adults alike. Teens who talk or text on their cell phones while driving are more likely to cause a car accident than those who don’t text and drive while on the road. According to NHTSA data, 233 people ages 15 to 19 died in crashes involving distraction-affected driving in 2019.
Additionally, many teens are distracted by other things, such as adjusting a GPS device or talking with a passenger. If they are not paying attention when something happens, they can swerve and crash.
It’s no surprise that speeding is one of the most common factors in car accidents, especially when teens are operating a vehicle. Teens don’t usually understand how fast they can safely drive on different roads and in various weather conditions. Combining these factors with the need for speed – with or without their parents’ permission – usually means a recipe for disaster.
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Teens spend more time traveling in vehicles than any other age group, yet they account for a significant number of car accidents. These accidents can be life-changing and even fatal, which is why you should seek compensation from all at-fault parties when your loved one faces such a situation.
While teens certainly aren’t the only group responsible for most vehicle accidents, the above are the top five reasons they get into car accidents more often. If your teen has been involved in a car accident, you can speak with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for legal help during a free consultation. Call 1-800-747-3733 today to learn what steps you need to take for your potential case.