Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., with the summer months being the deadliest. The average number of teen auto crash deaths climbs 15% in the summer compared to the rest of the year. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has become known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage motor vehicle crash deaths.
The rise in teen crash deaths in the summer is likely due to the fact that kids are out of school and on the roads more. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19-year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. The highest risk is between the ages of 16-17, where the fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high as it is for 18-19-year-olds.
In 2015, a total of 2,715 teens ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes. Data shows that 52% of those crash deaths occurred on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, with the most happening between the hours of 9pm-midnight, followed closely by 6-9pm.
Leading Causes of Teen Car Crashes
- Teens underestimate or don’t recognize dangerous situations
- Less experienced teen drivers don’t react quickly enough or properly to unexpected dangers
- They travel too closely to the car in front of them
- Looking or reaching for objects while driving
- Grooming or primping while driving
- Driving with other teen passengers in the car
- Texting or talking on phone
- Searching for music or directions on a smartphone
Not Wearing a Seatbelt – In 2015, 60% of teen drivers killed in a crash weren’t wearing a seatbelt
Speeding – a factor in nearly 30% of fatal crashes
Reckless Driving – Teen drivers are more likely to behave riskier behind the wheel, such as weaving in and out of traffic
Ways to Reduce Auto Crash Deaths Among Teenagers
Always wear a seatbelt – drivers and passengers
Understand the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving
Understand the dangers and consequences of texting and driving
Parents talk to teens about and set an example of how they’re supposed to drive
(i.e., don’t speed, run red lights or stop signs, don’t text or dial while driving, and never drive while impaired).
Know and obey your state’s Graduated Driver’s License Program, if they have one
In an effort to save lives, Georgia passed the Teenage & Adult Responsibility Act (TADRA). This is a three-step graduated driver’s license (GDL) program for drivers 15-18 years old. It requires that once a teen driver has passed their driver’s test they are issued a provisional, or intermediate, driver’s license. The provisional license allows for unsupervised driving with the following restrictions:
- No driving between 12 midnight and 5:00 am
- Between 1-6 months – No passengers unless immediate family members of the driver
- Between 6-12 months – Only 1 passenger under the age of 21 who is not an immediate family member of the driver
- 12 months – 18 years – Only 3 passengers under 21 who are not immediate family members of the driver
Restrictions are lifted at age 18 if the driver has no traffic offenses or convictions and has completed all GDL requirements.
There are few things scarier as a parent than handing over the car keys to your 16-year-old teen driver. As an injury attorney, I see first-hand how auto accidents can impact the lives of young, inexperienced drivers, as well as how it affects their family members, and particularly how their actions affect the lives of others who are hurt or the lives of those who lose family members due to preventable negligence.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death from an auto accident then call our firm to discuss your case free of charge. I will talk to you about your options and charge you nothing until we recover money. Let our firm handle dealing with the insurance companies and the investigation while you focus on recovering.