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Teens Behind the Wheel: Statistics Show...

How safe is it for a teenager to drive or ride with their friends? A number of studies have shown that teen drivers, combined with certain behavioral patterns such as speeding, use of alcohol, distracted driving, use of drugs, and drowsy nighttime driving are major causes for teen related crashes. Statistics also show that teenage drivers are three times more likely to get involved in accidents or crashes in comparison to other drivers. This is why it’s very essential for teenage drivers to be careful on the road and follow regulations to drive safely. Parents have to stress the importance of safe driving to their kids. Tell the children to keep their eyes on road, hands on wheel, and avoid carelessness to prevent a crash.

Teen Driving Statistics

  • The number one cause of death for youngsters in the age group of 15 to 20 years is motor vehicle crashes.
  • More crashes are caused by 16 year old drivers than any other age group.
  • In the year 2008, 2,739 drivers in the age group of 15 to 20 years were killed in motor vehicle crashes. In comparison, 3,174 were killed in 2007 and 3,431 were killed in 1998.
  • In every 3 fatal crashes involving teen drivers, two were males.
  • As per 2008 statistics, 12 percent of all fatal crashes and 14 percent of all crashes reported to the police involved teen drivers in the age group of 15 to 20 years.
  • In 2008, 63 percent of teen passenger deaths happened in vehicles which were operated by another teenager.
  • In 2008, passenger vehicle occupants accounted for 81 percent of teen motor fatalities.
  • The total number of teenager drivers in the age group of 15-20 years involved in fatal crashes in 2008 was 5,864. In comparison, the number was 6,982 in 2007 and 7,987 in 1998.
  • As per analysis by AAA, crashes involving teens in the age group of 15 to 17 years cost above $34 billion in the United States.
  • States which implemented GDL programs with a minimum of 5 essential elements reported a decrease of 20 percent in fatal motor vehicle crashes involving 16 years old drivers.

 

Major Reasons for Motor Vehicle Crashes in Teenagers

According to NCSA and NHTSA, these are the main causes for motor vehicle crashes amongst teenagers.

Distracted Driving

The use of mobile/cell phones while driving is very dangerous, not only for teen drivers, but even adult drivers. Listening to music too loudly can also be dangerous because the driver may hear other sounds. Intense joking and laughing can also distract the driver. The use of hand-held cell phones was highest for drivers in the age group of 16 to 24 years.

Speeding

Speeding is another major cause of fatal crashes for drivers in he age group of 15 to 20 years. It’s highly dangerous to drive at high speeds because it’s more difficult to control the vehicle. Statistics show that 37 percent of male drivers in the age group of 15 to 20 years were speeding when they got into fatal accidents.

Not Wearing Seat Belts/Passengers Not Buckled Up

Every year, some 13,000 lives are saved by seat belts. Out of 3,678 vehicle passengers in the age group of 16 to 20 years who were killed in fatal crashes, 2,014 were not wearing seat belts.

Use of Alcohol/Drug

Intake of alcohol and drugs has been a major cause for motor vehicle accidents across the world even among adult drivers. Statistics show that 31 percent of youngsters between 15 to 20 years old who were killed in car crashes had taken some amount of alcohol. 25 percent of the drivers were alcohol impaired, which means that their blood alcohol content was 0.08 grams per deciliter or more.

Additional Passengers

Another cause of teen fatalities in car crashes is additional passengers. The death rates of 16 to 17 year old drivers go up with each additional passenger. The presence of peers can bring about such dangerous behavior like speeding, skidding on purpose, alcohol or drug consumption, swerving, and running a red light, which greatly increases the chance of car crashes.

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