What is a Major Factor in Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers?

A new driver in the family is both exciting and can produce anxiety. However, there are safeguards for which young drivers and parents can be aware so that these young motorists will be more knowledgeable and responsible when they are on the road.

Although the thrill of driving for teen drivers often means an avenue toward greater freedom, parents and teenagers should be aware of potential hazards on the road. Teen drivers are more likely than other drivers to succumb to visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that young motorists are two-and-a-half times more likely to participate in possibly risky actions when driving with a fellow teenage passenger as opposed to driving alone. The study also revealed that the risk of a fatal car accident goes up in direct relation to the total number of teenagers in the vehicle.

This information is not presented to put a damper on your teenager getting behind the wheel. With the proper guidance, practice, and set of rules, parents can mitigate the major factors in car accidents involving teen drivers.

Your Teen is Ready for a Permit

Getting a driver’s license can be a significant achievement in a youngster’s existence. They have no doubt spent countless hours daydreaming about driving and perhaps have a desired car in mind. Before your teenager applies for a driving permit, consider the following when making up your mind that they are prepared to do so:

  • Is your teenager mature enough to seriously take on the obligation of driving?
  • Who will teach your youngster to drive?
  • Do you or another licensed adult have the time to oversee his/her driving?

Leading Causes of Accidents and Injuries Involving Teen Drivers

Car accidents with 16- to 17-year-old drivers usually involve a variety of factors that include speeding, driving at an unsafe speed, driving with distractions or inattention, driver inexperience, tailgating other vehicles, and failing to yield to other motorists.    

Many teen motorists, along with their passengers, are severely injured or killed when they are not wearing their seat belt, which is a requirement by state law.

Pennsylvania Seat Belt Law

Pennsylvania state law requires that every motorist and passenger wear a seat belt. Failure to do so would put you at risk if you are pulled over by a police officer for another violation; the officer will also ticket you for the violation of not wearing seat belts.   

Drivers who are under 18, along with their passengers, must wear their seat belts at all times. Police can ticket teen drivers and passengers who do not wear their seat belts as a primary traffic violation. If the passengers are children, the state has child passenger restraint laws that provide a set of guidelines to keep youngsters safe when they are traveling.

Set Rules for Your Teen Driver

A great way for parents to get involved in the safety and security of their teen driver is to establish rules and guidelines and enforce them. Young adults whose parents set rules and limit driving privileges, which include using at night and driving with teenage passengers, are much less likely to drive unsafely, get ticketed for driving offenses by law enforcement officials, and get in an accident.

A parent/teenager driving agreement is a written contract that can be used by parents of teen drivers to manage teen driving after the teenager receives their driver’s license. The agreement must consist of driving restrictions, policies, and results for breaking the policies.

As your youngster gains more driving experience, displays safe driving skills, and proves they are an accountable driver, you can permit greater driving privileges over time. Even though your teenager may be anxious to drive at night or supply rides to their friends, keep the nighttime and passenger regulations for at least the first six months of licensure. Begin giving new privileges one by one if your teenager is accident- and violation-free for the initial six to 12 months after. Several automobile insurance corporations have teenager riding safety statistics and are familiar with this sort of agreement.

Your teen is likely to adopt your driving behaviors and attitudes. Set a good example by continually using seat belts, avoiding riding distractions such as the use of mobile telephones, and obeying speed limits.

The National Safety Council encourages parents to create a graduated driver license program in their home so that teen drivers can obtain vital experience. The graduated driver license program should include the following topics:

  • Forbid any use of cell phones while they are behind the wheel.
  • Restrict teens to no passengers in the first year of obtaining a license.
  • Establish a 10:00 p.m. curfew for nighttime driving.
  • There should be zero tolerance for impaired or drunk driving.
  • Afford your teen with as much supervised driving experience as conceivable. Arrange different adverse situations for them to practice.

Pennsylvania Teen Crash Facts and Statistics

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) stated in their 2020 crash facts and statistics report that motorists ages 16 to 21 are the least skilled drivers and they are also inclined to feverish driving performance, which could be attributed to their youth and peer pressure. Young drivers 16 to 21 accounted for 9,005 single vehicle car accidents and 13,883 multiple vehicle collisions.

According to the 2020 Pennsylvania driver data, as driver age groups increased in age, the proportion of Pennsylvania total drivers involved in accidents within each age group diminished significantly. The state attributes the number of 16-year-olds involved in car accidents to a December 1999 mandate that obligated a required six-month waiting period between obtaining a learner’s permit and testing for a driver’s license.

The state says that 16-year-old drivers have a limited time to use roads and are often driving in more controlled situations in which they are permitted to drive during the permit process. Driver inexperience and less cautious driving often are attributed characteristics given to the reason all young driver ages have higher rates, according to the state.

The state reports that 16-year-olds were involved in 1,395 car accidents, or 2.5 percent of the total driving age group; 17-year-olds were involved in 3,619 car accidents, or 3.8 percent of the total driving age group; 18-year-olds were involved in 4,318 car accidents, or 3.9 percent of the total driving age group; 19-year-olds were involved in 4,318 car accidents, or 3.4 percent of the total driving age group; and 21-year-olds were involved in 4,260 car accidents, or 3.3 percent of the total driving age group.

Young drivers, 16 to 21, were involved in 591 non-collision accidents; 4,705 rear-end collisions; 1,142 head-on crashes; 71 backing up accidents; 7,328 angle collisions; 1,369 sideswipe crashes; 6,892 fixed object accidents; 171 pedestrian accidents; and 619 collisions that were deemed other.

Drivers 16 to 21 were involved in 9,063 intersection accidents and 13,825 non-intersection collisions.

Of particular concern to the state was the involvement of drivers drinking under the age of 21; 17 percent of the driver fatalities in the 16 to 20 age group involved drunk drivers, which was up from 14 percent in 2019.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Advocate for Victims of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

When teenagers hit the roadways, they are often inexperienced and prone to be distracted at the wheel. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured by a teenage motorist, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC.  Our skilled lawyers will examine the facts of your case and fight for proper compensation for your personal injuries. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.