Teen fatal crashes are three times higher than for other drivers

A new study shows that new teen drivers are more than three times more likely to be in a fatal crash.

A new study by the AAA Foundation shows that new teen drivers are far more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than older, more experienced drivers are. According to Today, the study found that drivers under the age of 18 were more than three times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident compared to older drivers. Distracted driving, both by passengers and mobile devices, is the leading cause of teen accidents. With summer here, the risk of teen accidents is especially high.

Crash rate involving teen drivers

The AAA Foundation used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine the accident rate per mile driven for all age groups across the country. The data showed that drivers aged 16 and 17 were 3.9 times more likely than drivers aged 18 and over to be involved in a crash and 4.5 times more likely than those aged 30 to 59 to be involved in an accident. The study also highlighted how teen drivers were 2.6 and 3.2 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared to drivers aged 18 and over and between 30 and 59 respectively.

The study is especially timely given that during the summer months, accidents involving teenagers rise 15 percent when compared to the rest of the year, largely thanks to school being out and warmer temperatures encouraging more driving. Furthermore, fatal teen accidents have been rising overall in the past couple years.

Distractions the main culprit

The researchers noted that distracted driving was the main cause of teen accidents. Lack of a seatbelt and speeding are also major contributors to the high fatality rate among teen drivers. As CBS News reports, what may surprise some people is that the main form of distraction for teen drivers comes not from smartphones, but from other passengers.

An earlier AAA Foundation study found that distracted driving was a factor in 60 percent of teen crashes, with distractions from other passengers accounting for 15 percent of accidents while use of a mobile device was responsible for 12 percent of accidents. Those figures, experts say, suggest that parents need to set rules with their teenage children against driving with friends, especially in the first couple of years of driving when they are still learning to be comfortable behind the wheel.

Personal injury law

An accident can cause pain and suffering both in the short- and long-terms. Not only are accidents traumatizing and painful, but they can be costly too, with expenses related to medical care, treatment, vehicle repair, and lost income quickly adding up. A personal injury attorney can help those who have been involved in a crash, including by representing them when filing for claims that may ultimately help alleviate some of that financial pressure.