Unfortunately, fatal car accidents are one of the top causes of death among teens in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of six teenagers die from car accident injuries every single day. When a teen causes a serious vehicle crash, the outcome can be devastating for the families of everyone involved, particularly if injuries in teen car accidents are fatal.
7 Reasons for Teen Car Accidents
Teen drivers, especially males between the ages of 16 to 19, are at greater risk than any other age group for motor vehicle crashes. There are seven major factors that contribute to rate of teen car accidents.
1. Driver inexperience
Teens with less than two years of driving experience are not equipped to recognize and react to dangerous situations. Crash risk is particularly high during the first months after earning a license because teenagers are eager to hit the roads without inhibition. Good driving techniques develop through experience and young drivers will inevitably make more mistakes during the learning stages.
2. Distracted driving
Distracted driving includes engaging in any type of activity that takes your eyes and mind off the road, such as using a phone, eating, turning the radio, and chatting with passengers. Since driving requires cognitive, manual, and mental concentration, the tiniest distraction can lead to disaster. Distracted driving becomes even more dangerous at nighttime when visibility is reduced.
3. Not wearing seat belts
It has been proven that seat belts significantly reduce the risk of fatal and serious car accident injuries, and teenagers can endanger themselves and others by ignoring precautionary measures. In a 2013 survey, only slightly more than half of high school students said that they always wear a seat belt. Teenagers report the lowest rate of proper seat belt usage compared to other age groups.
4. Drinking and driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol can turn deadly even for experienced drivers. However, teenagers are generally more prone to engage in dangerous behaviors, and almost a quarter of teens report that they are willing to ride with a driver who had been drinking. Combined with lack of experience, driving while intoxicated becomes a common cause of teen motor vehicle accidents.
5. Reckless driving
Looking at teen car crashes, about 35 percent of young drivers are speeding at the time of the incident. Male teens are especially at risk for being involved in fatal reckless driving accidents. Other reckless driving practices include making illegal turns or lane changes, tailgating, and street racing.
6. Driving with teen passengers
One of the biggest distractions for young drivers is riding with friends in the passenger seat. Studies show that the presence of teen passengers can increase a young driver’s risk of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and engaging in reckless driving through peer pressure. Drivers might feel uncomfortable partaking in unsafe practices, but they also want to impress their friends.
7. Texting and driving
In today’s technological age, almost 80 percent of teens in America own a cell phone, and almost half of them have smartphones. Consequently, texting and driving has become a major cause of auto accidents involving teens. Aside from text messaging, social media use creates the same level of distraction for young drivers.