TEEN DRIVING FACTS

Teen driving statistics and facts

Driving is undeniably one of the most relevant skills today. However, as a parent, having a teen who is of driving age could be very troubling. Teenagers are not exactly known to be cautious, and handing them the keys to a car could prove fatal. Several statistics show that driving is among the top causes of death and injuries among teenagers. Factors like distracted driving, alcohol use, etc., have also been shown to contribute to the increased number of driving fatalities among teenagers. Despite this, it is not possible to utterly put an end to teen driving. Instead, the solution lies in implementing safety guidelines and educating teens on safe driving procedures. As a parent, teacher, or guardian, here are some facts and statistics about teen driving that you must know.

  • In the US alone, about 2500 teens were killed and 285,000 injured in road-related accidents in 2018. 
  • Male teens are twice more likely to die from motor accidents than female teenagers within the same age group. 
  • Teenagers with newly acquired driving licenses were more likely to be involved in a motor accident, which often occurred between the first 6 months of getting the license. 
  • Driving teens between the ages of 16 and 17 are 3 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. 
  • Teen drivers made up 7% of the total deaths from car crashes in 2018. 
  • In 2018, 78% of death caused by car crashes involved teen drivers in passenger vehicles. 63% of this consisted of teen drivers within the ages of 16 – 19.
  • Distracted driving accounts for up to 10 % of motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. 
  • Texting while driving increased the risk of car accidents by 23 times, and this behavior is common among teenage drivers. 
  • The fatality rate for 16-year-old teenage drivers is 9 times more than that for adult drivers between 30 and 60. 
  • Teenage drivers are involved in 20 percent of car crashes and 14 percent of all motor accident-related deaths. 
Teen driving

Why Teen drivers often cause accidents

From the statistics above, teen drivers are more likely than drivers of other age groups to be involved in car accidents. This is because they are more likely to engage in any number of high-risk behavior while driving. Here are some of the factors and behaviors that increase the risk of teen driving accidents. 

Driver Error 

Teenage drivers are generally inexperienced. They lack the finesse that comes with years of driving experience. However, road conditions remain the same for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. Combining teen drivers’ inexperience and dangerous road conditions like rain or snow, it is evident that their lack of experience places them at a severe disadvantage. Coupled with this is that teen drivers are less likely to adhere to safety measures like wearing seat belts while driving. A study by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey showed that within 2016 – 2018, teen drivers used their seat belts less than adult drivers (1). This risky behavior is even more pronounced among teens who were not driving but occupied a vehicle driven by another teen. A possible explanation for this behavior could be because they are new to driving and are not fully accustomed to using seat belts. To reinforce this habit, some states in the US have come up with laws that empower law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who aren’t using their seat belts. 

  1. Distraction

Distraction is anything that steals your attention from a preferred area of focus. A distracted driver is a hazardous person because they are potentially harmful to themselves and other road users. When driving, a few seconds of distraction could be the difference between life and death. Distraction among teen drivers is pervasive today and one of the leading causes of car crashes. Common distractions are texting while driving, answering or making calls, changing the radio station, eating, using a map, or talking to a passenger while driving. The impact of these actions is emphasized when you consider the inexperience of teen drivers. 

According to this report, 39 % of high school students said they had texted or sent an email at least once while driving. 

Here are some quick facts about distracted driving;

  • Talking on a phone while driving doubles the risk of having an accident. 
  • Dialing a number while driving increases the risk of an accident by 6 times. 
  • Sending or replying to a text while driving increases the risk of an accident by 23 times. 

All three behaviors listed above are shared among teen drivers, which explains the higher rate of car accidents among the age group. These behaviors are also linked to the increasing use of phones while driving, which is also very common among teenage drivers. 

2. Nighttime and Weekend Driving

Driving at night or going on a long weekend drive can be both physically and mentally challenging, especially for new drivers. According to a CDC transportation department report, 37% of car fatalities involving teenage drivers occur at night. This doesn’t surprise as any experienced driver will know that driving at night requires extra attention and puts more strain on the driver. This statistic raises so much concern and also emphasizes the role of inexperience among teen drivers. The report says that 52 % of these nighttime crashes occur mostly between Friday and Sunday (2). Careful consideration of this information will reveal that most teens go on camping or long trips during the weekends. Now driving for a long time can be exhausting, and the risk only increases at night because the driver may feel sleepy due to tiredness and exhaustion. Therefore, it is not advisable for teen drivers who are yet to build their stamina to embark on such risky adventures. 

3. Speeding

Over speeding is a widespread cause of car accidents, and compared to adult drivers, teens are more likely to over speed and give less headway. This negligent and risky behavior accounted for 32 % of fatal motor accidents involving teen drivers (3). The danger of overspeeding is that the driver has less time to make a quick decision if faced with any risk. An example is when the car skids in snow or if a deer suddenly runs across the road. 

4. Use of Alcohol

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a recipe for disaster. Even adults who are experienced drivers have met a devastating end; how much more teen drivers have less experience and poor reflexes. Alcohol intake is known to reduce reflex responses and even cause blurred vision, increasing the risk of an accident if the person is driving. Teenage drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in a car crash, even with a blood alcohol concentration that is less than that of an adult driver (2).

What teenagers must know before driving

It is the place of a parent, teacher, or guardian to teach teen drivers what they should know about driving. It would be best if you made them understand that there is a lot more involved in driving than merely moving the car from one place to another. This awareness will undoubtedly prepare them for the challenges they will encounter while driving. 

Here are some of the essential driving facts that every teen driver should know;

  1. Awareness

Teenage drivers should know the common factors and behaviors that could put their lives in danger while driving. The factors outlined in this article are an excellent place to start. These driving facts and statistics are essential in creating awareness about car accidents’ common causes and how to avoid them. Knowing this will improve their chances of survival by ensuring they stay alert and avoid unnecessary risk. 

2. Use of Seat belt at all times.

Teen drivers should be encouraged to use their seat belts at all times, whether they are driving the vehicle or not. It is a known fact that seatbelts have saved many drivers who would otherwise be gravely injured or dead. Unfortunately, teen drivers rank the lowest among drivers who use the seat belt while driving (4). Most states have primary or secondary seat belt laws that enforce the use of seat belts while driving. The primary seat belt law permits law enforcement officers to pull over any driver who does not use the seat belt. In states where it is practiced, the strategy has helped increase seat belts use even among teenage drivers. 

3. No Use of Alcohol

The US laws prohibit the use of alcohol for anyone below the age of 21 years. Despite this fact, a 2017 study showed that up to 24% of teen drivers who were killed in car crashes were under the influence of alcohol (5). Another study showed that 15% of teen drivers within the age of 16-20 involved in deadly motor accidents had a blood alcohol concentration that will be illegal for adults aged 21 years and above (6). These studies prove that alcohol consumption is typical among teenage drivers and should be curtailed. 

4. Driver License

Enroll your teenage driver is specialized licensing systems like the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. These programs place restrictions on teen drivers and limit their exposure to the factors and behaviors that could put their lives at risk. These include prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving and the presence of other teen passengers. 

How the itcanwait simulator can help

Itcanwait simulator is an app developed by AT&T to help in educating people on the dangers of texting while driving. AT&T, armed with the motor “no text is worth dying for….it can wait,” started a campaign to reduce road accidents by creating awareness on the dangers of texting while driving. The essential advantage of using the itcanwait simulator app in educating teen drivers is that it gives them a detailed experience of real-life car crashes resulting from distractions. 

If experience is the best teacher, then this app is truly the best. It provides the background without the dangers of real-life scenarios, but the lessons are the same. During the simulation, the user who is the driver will have to navigate through the streets while texting. The simulation environment is constructed to make it as realistic as possible. 

The result is a lasting impact on how dangerous it is to text and drive. Another advantage of this app is that it is available on both mobile and desktop platforms. The mobile version is convenient and can be operated with simple controls like any driving game. For a 3D experience, you can use the Oculus gear VR. 

Additionally, the itcanwait website provides other helpful resources that can be used for educational purposes. Drivers are also prompted to pledge never to text and drive. Making this pledge instills a feeling of responsibility, and these drivers become committed to maintaining safe driving practices. You can click on this link to download the app. 

Conclusion 

Teen drivers pose a significant risk to themselves as well as other road users. This is because they are inexperienced and also engage in risky behaviors while driving. The impact of a car crash could be devastating to the victim and their family. Losing a child is a situation that no parent will want to be in, and we understand that. This is why It is crucial to educate your teenage driver on the primary driving facts and teach them how to be more careful and responsible. To help you with this, the article has covered most aspects of teen driving. The information provided within the article helps parents and guardians with teens that are of driving age or close. All statistics provided within the article are fact-based and backed by research. They are proven strategies to help prevent car crashes involving teen drivers and improve the overall safety of our roads. 

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