If you made it through your children's teen driving years, you know exactly how stressful that is. It is not, however, simply a "parent thing." Teen drivers are among the most dangerous motorists on our roadways, and statistics support this fact. Teens are not only inexperienced drivers, but they are also more impulsive and prone to dangerous distractions, including their smartphones.
Teen Drivers and Accident Rates
Teenagers are far more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, and The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shares several meaningful statistics related to drivers between the ages of 16 and 17, including:
- They are 3 times more likely to be involved in traffic fatalities than adult drivers are.
- They are 3.9 times more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than drivers who are 18 and over are, and they are 4.5 times more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than drivers who are between the ages of 30 and 59 are.
- They are 2.6 times more likely to be involved in traffic fatalities than drivers who are 18 and older are, and they are 3.2 times more likely to be involved in traffic fatalities than drivers who are between the ages of 30 and 59 are.
Further, traffic fatalities involving teen drivers spike in the summer months – the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares several risk factors that contribute to the dire statistics related to teenage motorists, including:
- Teenage drivers often underestimate the level of risk in dangerous driving situations.
- Unsupervised teenage drivers who have teen passengers in the vehicle are at far greater risk of crashing (the more teen passengers, the greater the risk).
- Teenage drivers are the least likely drivers to wear their seatbelts.
Distraction and Speeding
Driving is an immense responsibility that requires absolute attention to safety. When a driver is distracted by anything other than driving safely, he or she endangers everyone on the road. Teenagers are prone to distraction in the first place, and when you combine this with inexperience, it makes teenagers that much more dangerous behind the wheel. Additionally, teen motorists are not just distracted by their smartphones – they are far more prone than other drivers to be distracted by passengers in their vehicles. Finally, teenage drivers are also more prone to speeding, which is a critical element in the majority of dangerous accidents on our highways and byways.