It’s a sad fact, but it’s true: traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. Here are some facts on teen driver mortality rates.
An Age Group at Risk
Of all age groups, 16 to 19-year-olds have the greatest risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. Among teen drivers, those at especially high risk are:
- Male drivers and passengers.
- All teens driving with teen passengers
- Newly licensed teens, especially during the first year they are eligible to drive.
Teen Drivers Tend to Speed and Tailgate More Often
Teens tend to drive above the posted speed limits more often than older drivers. They also leave a smaller cushion distance between themselves and other drivers. If a male teenage passenger is in the car, the likelihood of risky driving behavior increases significantly. The percentage of male teen drivers who were speeding at the time of a fatal crash in 2005 was 35%, and 26% had been drinking.
Teens Ride in Cars with Drivers Who Drink
A 2007 survey found that, over the course of a month, three out of ten teens reported that they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. In 2008, three out of every four teen drivers killed in automobile crashes after drinking had not been wearing a seatbelt.
It’s a sad and troubling occasion when a teen gets in an auto collision or accident of any kind. If a teen is lucky enough to walk away with his or her life after an accident, the experience should be regarded as a real-life lesson.