We all think we’re invincible when we’re teenagers. We’re too naïve to understand that we don’t know as much as we think. And we think we know everything.
But then we grow up. Sometimes we grow up quickly when we get into an auto accident while we’re still a teenager.
Being a teenager and having a driver’s license is one of the rites of passage into adulthood, but a license doesn’t always guarantee an automatic infusion of maturity and responsibility. With young drivers, there is a high risk of car accidents when sharing the road with these inexperienced transporters.
Teen Driving Statistics
Teenage drivers, while young and enthusiastic, are often young and inexperienced. As there are no “beginner” traffic lanes, the inexperience will often result in some sobering statistics in regards to teenagers who drive.
- A full one-third of deaths among the 13-19 age group come from auto accidents.
- Data shows that for every extra passenger in a car with a 16- or 17-year-old driver, the driver’s death rate increases significantly.
- Of those teens which died in auto accidents, 4 in 10 of them were killed between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Nearly 8 in 10 people killed in teenager-driver crashes are those who are occupants of vehicles.
- Teenagers make up almost 10 percent of all auto-accident-related deaths.
- Nearly half of teenagers aged 16-19 involved in fatal car crashes are involved in single-car incidents. That is far higher than any other age demographic.
Being a teenager, by itself, can be a significant factor in auto accidents involving teenagers. But besides that, there are other factors that seem consistent with teenagers and their inexperience. Some of the common factors that cause accidents seem to be enhanced when combined with the relative inexperience and immaturity of teenagers.
As you might imagine, teenagers are prolific texters and in using their cell phones, and distracted driving with cell phones is one of the major factors of car crashes in almost every age demographic. It would not be surprising to learn that research suggests 17-year-olds who text while driving tended to have a response time that is equivalent to a senior citizen who is not distracted.
As was mentioned above with statistics, teenagers are more likely to be more “confident” as drivers when passengers are in the car. Teenagers are those who tend to believe that they are great drivers when they are in the car by themselves, which may be true. But as these teenagers add friends or family members into the car, the chances of that teenager being involved in a car crash doesn’t necessarily change; what changes is that the teenagers are more likely to be involved in a crash that involved death, with the risk going up as each passenger gets added (in other words, a car with three passengers is more dangerous with a teen driver than with one passenger or no passengers).
Inexperience with Weather and Physics
Many times, teenagers learn and practice driving in good weather conditions and they honor their speed limits and seat-belt laws in the early months with parents or other adults in the car. But when you get a teenager by himself or herself in the car, often they get hard lessons in weather and physics.
Once they have their driver’s licenses, teenagers will tend to drive in very different environments than in their incubated learning laboratories. In these situations where they have more freedom, they will draft in rainy weather, at night, in fog, and will learn a number of different speed limits.
Teenagers are more likely to drive at excessive speeds, and they can be more at risk for accidents because their inexperience means they may not be able to have the reaction time necessary for getting out of trouble when driving even 5 mph faster than normal.
In good weather, teenagers are less challenged to be good drivers. But as rain falls down, fog creeps in, the wind blows, teenagers have trouble learning how their vehicles behave or react on roadways with weather challenges. And again, the inexperience creeps in and impacts not only the drivers but also anyone else on the road.
Because “beginners” don’t get their own driving lane.
Whether you are a parent of a teenage driver who is involved in an auto accident, or whether you are involved in an auto accident with a teenage driver, there is a balancing act to be played with your emotions.
Either way, they are compassion and determination.
One the one hand, as a parent, you may have compassion for those who were victimized by your inexperienced teenage driver, while you also have the determination to stand up for your teenager’s rights. On the other hand, as a victim of a teen driver’s mistake, you want to have compassion for the teenager because chances are you have been there yourself, at the same time you are determined to stand up for yourself and your rights to be whole in the aftermath of an auto accident.
Either way, you should remember to fight through your emotions and fight for your rights by scheduling a free consultation with a quality Memphis personal-injury attorney who will independently investigate your accident and make sure that teenagers and victims are protected through the process.