A lot of teenagers are eager to see the day when they’re finally allowed to drive legally, but the statistics paint a harsher picture of the realities of teenage driving. According to CDC statistics, accidents is the leading cause of death for teenagers as they account for almost 50% of the fatalities, and among all accidents, motor vehicle accidents represent the leading cause of death. About 6 teenagers in the US die from car crashes every single day.
Among all age groups for drivers, the risk of a car crash is highest among the 16-to-19 years old age group. These teens are almost 3 times as likely to die due to a car crash as people who are at least 20 years old.
8 Reasons Why Teens get in Car Accidents
Here are 8 reasons why:
- Teens don’t have enough experience behind the wheel. It takes time to gain the necessary experience to know what (and what not) to do when driving, but unfortunately young drivers have yet to gain this knowledge. The risk is much greater during the first few months of getting their license, as teens are overly excited about the prospect of driving. That’s why at least 1 in 5 teens gets into an accident in their first year of driving.
- Teens can easily get distracted. Teens usually like to talk with friends or fiddle with the radio when they’re driving. Nowadays, there’s also the smartphone as an additional distraction. Driving requires concentration, and that’s especially true when driving conditions offer reduced visibility. According to studies, about 58% of teen car crashes had distraction as a key factor in causing the accident.
- Driving with other teens. Having other teens in the car with the teenage driver has proven to be a negative influence. Teen drivers are more likely to impress their friends with more reckless driving behavior, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These teen companions can prove distracting as well.
- Texting while driving. Older generations never had this problem, since texting technology didn’t exist yet. Almost 4 out 5 teens own a cell phone or a smartphone, and texting has become a major cause of distraction. The same goes for social media.
- Loud Music. Often times teens are more likely to listen to loud music than adults. This puts them at least for a potential accident. Extremely loud music can not only be distracting but it can make it so that the driver cannot hear the horn or distress signal of another driver.
- Often they don’t wear seatbelts. For some reason, many teens consider it a point of pride to not wear their seatbelt. This is obviously a dangerous mistake, as seatbelts can save lives and reduce the severity of injuries when an accident occurs. Teenagers are the least likely to wear their seatbelts among all age groups.
- Driving under the influence. It’s ironic that so many car crashes are caused by teenage drinking, because the legal drinking age in the US is 21 years of age. Yet 17% of drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 who were involved in fatal car crashes were legally impaired by alcohol. They had a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08%. In addition, 1 in 5 teens reported that within the previous month they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking at the time.
- Reckless driving. These practices include overspeeding, drag racing, tailgating, and making illegal turns and lane changes. The “need for speed” is particularly common, especially for young male drivers. More than a third of all young drivers who were involved in a car crash were speeding at the time of the accident.
Hopefully, teens can recognize these dangers, and can act more responsibly in the future. The threat to teenage drivers is that they’re teenagers, and the danger is absolutely real.