As sad as it is, teenagers are significantly more likely to get in a car accident than adults. According to research from the American Automobile Association (AAA), newly licensed drivers, ranging from 15 to 17 years old, are almost four times as likely as adults to be involved in a car crash and almost three times as likely for it to be fatal.
Further research from the CDC showed that males are two times as likely to get in a car crash than females, and the risk increases significantly when there are other passengers in the vehicle.
This a worldwide problem, not just one in the United States. A car accident lawyer in Toronto explained that teen driving is an unfortunate cause of many accidents in the province. There are several factors that increase a teen’s likelihood to be in a crash. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common.
They’re still gaining experience on the road
Inexperience is probably the biggest reason for unsafe teen drivers. Although they’ve passed their test, there’s still a lot of learning left. You simply can’t learn everything you need to about safe driving in the controlled environment of driver’s ed.
Driving requires practice, and it can take decades for new drivers to truly feel comfortable behind the wheel. With time, they’ll develop faster reaction times and make better choices protect both themselves and others on the roadway.
There are other teenagers in the vehicle, which distracts them
Other teenagers are in the car can be a huge distraction for new drivers. Consider a group of teenage girls headed to a school dance, excited over the perfect long white dress the driver is wearing, and as she talks about the outfit, she runs a stoplight and hits another car.
While the cause of the distraction might be unique, the results of distracted driving are often the same. The AAA found that 15 percent of all teenage driver crashes happened because the driver was distracted by another teen passenger. The risk of an accident doubles in these cases.
They’re more likely to look at their cell phones.
Unfortunately, the younger generation has a difficult time putting down their cell phones, even when they’re behind the wheel. According to research, 94 percent of teen drivers know that texting while driving is dangerous, but more than a third do it anyway.
It’s not just texting that’s a concern. All cell phone use can be a distraction, including using the GPS, playing music, and talking on the phone. Teenagers are four times more likely than an adult to get in an accident when talking on their cell phone. Anyone who uses their cell phone often while driving is likely to get into an accident, but teens are more likely to pick up their phones when they know they shouldn’t.
They’re more likely to make poor choices while driving
Speeding is among the most common reasons for accidents on the roadway, and teenagers are more likely to speed than adults. It’s hard for them to comprehend the dangers of exceeding the speed limit until it’s too late.
They’re also more likely to drink and drive. More teenagers consume alcohol than you might realize, and if they have the keys to the car, they’re not likely to give them up. Because they’re drinking underage, they’re not likely to call their parents or take a cab and have to explain why they couldn’t drive home.
It’s not hard to understand why teenage drivers are the most dangerous on the road, but it is important to help them learn and understand the risks. As a concerned parent and/or citizen, do your best to educate the younger generation and keep our roads safe.