Understanding Teen Driving Statistics: Causes and Prevention

Understanding Teen Driving Statistics: What Parents and Teens Should Know

When a teenager gets their license, it is a rite of passage. Parents are often shocked when they go to get insurance coverage for their teen because the rates are incredibly high. Many people might believe that the higher premiums are due to teenagers causing more accidents than adult drivers. This assumption might be valid, as crash statistics are higher for teenagers than for adult drivers. However, teens are not always to blame for their crashes. Understanding Teen Driving Statistics can help shed light on this issue.

If your teenager suffers injuries in an accident or a teen driver causes you injuries, you need legal help. You should speak to a Milwaukee car accident lawyer from  Mingo & Yankala, S.C. as soon as possible. A qualified attorney can help you determine who is at fault and guide you through the legal process.

Always seek an attorney with experience handling car accident claims. They can review the situation and gather evidence to determine who should be liable for the accident and resulting injuries. 

Teenager vs. Adult Car Accident Statistics

When it comes to Teen Driving Statistics across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teens between 16 and 19 have three times higher chances of being involved in fatal car accidents. There are 2,500 teens killed in car accidents annually in the U.S. Notably, there is a higher chance of a fatal crash when a teen is in a car, even when they are not the driver. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also reports that the older teen drivers are, the lower their risk factors are. 

Teens are at a higher risk of accidents for many reasons. Teenagers can be more reckless when they are adjusting to the newfound freedom of a driver’s license and car. Teens know the law, but they might choose to not wear seatbelts or experiment with speeding. They can also use electronic devices or distract passengers. 

Night driving for teens also has increased risks. Teen drivers might not have sufficient nighttime driving experience and might be unable to drive effectively. According to the CDC, teenagers are three times more likely to be in a nighttime fatal car accident. 

While teens cause more car accidents, they can also be the victims of accidents and suffer life-changing injuries. In such cases, determining who is at fault is crucial for legal proceedings, and professional legal advice is often necessary. In either situation, injury victims should have the right legal assistance from a car accident attorney. 

Common Causes of Teen Car Crashes 

Before you can help prevent teen accidents, it is essential to understand the teen driving statistics that show how they happen. Some common causes include:

  • Distracted driving: This is a factor in many accidents, not just those involving teens. Reducing distractions can significantly lower the risk of severe injuries in an accident. It consists of any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes or minds off the road. This might include eating, smoking, putting on makeup, etc. The CDC reports that in the U.S., about 9% of drivers between 15 and 20 years old in fatal crashes participated in some form of distraction. The statistics are also high for adult drivers. Distractions are a leading cause of accidents all around.  
  • Texting and driving: While this is a form of distracted driving, it is worth discussing separately regarding teen drivers. Wisconsin law prohibits texting and driving for drivers of all ages, but it is still prevalent among teen drivers, and over 39% of teen drivers admit to texting while driving. Teens can’t seem to take themselves away from their phones because they always want to be connected to their friends and social media channels.
  • Speeding: Everyone wants to get to their destination quickly. Some want to get there faster than others, which leads to speeding. Teen drivers are prone to speeding, which not only increases the risk of an accident but also the severity of injuries. Slowing down is a simple yet effective way to reduce injury risk. The CDC reports that in a recent year, 27% of drivers in fatal accidents were speeding.  
  • Seat belts: Government statistics show that nearly half of teens in fatal crashes in recent years were not wearing seat belts, which significantly increases the risk of severe injuries. Always wearing a seat belt can be a lifesaver. The age group of 16 to 19 is notorious for refusing to wear their seat belts. While seat belt use may not cause crashes, it can increase the chances of suffering a severe injury or worse.  
  • Drunk driving: While it is not something anyone wants to consider regarding underage teens, it happens. Moreover, teens might be more likely to drink and drive to cover up the fact that they were drinking from their parents. Sadly, 19% of fatal teen accidents involve intoxication, and these are all preventable. 
  • Inexperience: A significant factor in teen accidents is inexperience. Many teens lack confidence and knowledge when driving. They might be encountering situations independently that they did not while learning to drive. They might not react to emergency situations or traffic conditions appropriately. Any newly licensed driver faces these challenges, not just teens.  
  • Night driving: Day and night present different challenges to all drivers. Drivers can have limited visibility and may suffer from fatigue or impairment at night. The CDC found that 44% of fatal accidents involving teens between 13 and 19 occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Night driving may mean fewer vehicles on the road, resulting in a false sense of security and greater risk-taking for drivers. 
  • Peer passengers: Many teens enjoy the freedom of driving and want to share that with their friends. While we understand wanting to spend time with your peers, it can also increase the likelihood of an accident. Teen passengers can be highly distracting.

Teenagers face many challenges when they are first starting on the road. As they age, they may be better equipped to handle these challenges. In the meantime, they might cause accidents and injuries.

You should speak to a Milwaukee car accident lawyer if you or your teenager is involved in a collision.  

Preventing Teenage Car Accidents 

If you are a parent to a teenager, you will want to take steps to prevent teenage car accidents. You protect them from accidents and can lower your car insurance rates. One way you can promote safe driving and reduce the risk of injuries is by setting specific rules for when your teenager is driving, such as no texting, always wearing a seatbelt, and not speeding. Some suggestions are for your teenager to:

  • Do not use any electronic devices when driving. The one exception would be a GPS, which must be set before they start driving. 
  • Only change the radio or music when the vehicle is stopped. Instead, they can set a playlist or station before leaving the current location. 
  • Avoid driving at night unless absolutely necessary. Set a curfew for your teen to help with this. 
  • Avoid highways and other high-speed areas so they are not tempted to drive recklessly. 
  • Encourage your teen to obey all speed limits and focus on driving under, not over them. 
  • Passengers can try to distract drivers. Encourage or prohibit your teen from having passengers. This is important, especially when they are first starting. In time, they can become accustomed to driving with passengers, but you may want to limit it initially. 
  • Try to stay in familiar areas when they first start driving. This can provide good practice for a new driver. 
  • Use a telematics device: Some insurers offer discounts for installing a tracking device. Consider using this device to deter your teen from reckless driving habits. You can get a report about their driving habits. This is also an excellent way to talk to your teen about rules. Your teen may also have less pushback when you show them this is for insurance purposes and not just parents “overreacting.” 

Your teen might push back or simply fail to follow safety rules. However, setting these rules at all can help prevent teenage car accidents. To drive the rules home, you can go into detail about why you are setting them and describe the risks of teen accidents.

What to Do If Your Teenager Is Injured In a Car Accident

Many people are involved in car accidents at some point in their lives. The best thing to do is ensure your teen has a method of communication if an accident occurs. While they should not use a cell phone while driving, if they are in a crash, they should use it to call emergency services and you. All drivers should have proper documentation, such as a license, insurance card, and registration. Police officers will ask for these documents and expect your teen to know where they are.

Advise them to take the same steps you would if you were in a collision. However, the legal process may look different if the teen is underage. It is best to speak to a car accident attorney in Milwaukee for help with the legal process, especially to understand who is at fault and what legal remedies are available to you.

Parental Liability for Teen Accidents in Wisconsin

If a teenager causes an accident, the parents might be responsible. The law requires a parent or adult to sponsor the teen to get a learner’s permit and license. The sponsorship also means the person on the documentation is responsible if the teen causes an accident. Liability is usually limited to the adult’s insurance coverage. If you are the victim of a teen driver, you have legal options, but you may have to seek compensation from your parent’s coverage. 

Speak To A Car Accident Attorney in Milwaukee Today

Car accidents are common anywhere you go, and they are a leading cause of injury and death in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re in an accident with a teen or an adult, you should get legal representation. Speak to Mingo & Yankala, S.C. during an initial consultation to discuss the next steps. Call us (414) 273-7400 or use our online contact form.