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Teen Driving Statistics

Jul 17, 2015
Teen driving statistics

"Car crashes kill more teens than guns, drugs, alcohol, and suicide combined" said author and teen driving expert Timothy Smith.

A 16-year-old is 20 times more likely to get into a fatal car crash than an adult is. Within the first 12 months of learning how to drive, 60% of new teen drivers will be involved in a car crash.

Teen driving statistics can paint a scary picture. But by getting ahead of the data, parents can be prepared to help their children transition into safe teen drivers.

Most teens will crash close to home, in familiar circumstances, and at low speeds. 80% of the time, teen crashes are caused by driver error, a phenomenon that parents can easily help their children fix by training them to avoid distractions and pay attention to the road.

One of the deadliest distractions for teens is talking and texting on the phone. Teen texting and driving statistics indicate that texting while driving makes it 43 times more likely that a crash will occur. Talking on the phone, regardless of whether the device is hands-free or not, quadruples the crash risk.

“A cell phone impairs the brain function very similarly to having a 0.8% blood alcohol level, which is legally drunk,” Smith said. “Reducing or eliminating your child’s use of a cell phone while driving may be the single biggest factor you can help them reduce their crash risk by.”

Two other factors make a significant impact on teen driving safety. The amount of teenage passengers in the car takes a toll on your teen’s ability to drive without distraction. For every teen rider added to a car, the crash risk increases by 50%. The time of day also affects a teen’s concentration capacity.

“Teen are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash in the evening,” said Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Jan Withers.

Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW, Director of UCLA’s Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, recommends making sure your teen isn’t driving after midnight. Most accidents occur between the hours of 12 A.M. and 3 A.M.. Preventing teens from driving after midnight can get them off the road before partiers get on.

Teen drunk driving statistics are lower than some parents would expect. According to Ralph S. Blackman, the President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), federal numbers on drunk driving accidents have reached all time lows. In the past 20 to 30 years, the numbers have been cut in half. This is especially true of teen drinking and driving statistics, which have gone down by more than 70%.

Statistics of teen driving function as warnings to parents. By knowing the different numbers, parents can use these statistics to better help their children become safe drivers.


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Jan Withers
National President, MADD

About Jan Withers

Jan Withers joined MADD in 1992, after her 15-year-old daughter, Alisa Joy, was killed by an underage drinker who chose to drive after consuming numerous alcoholic beverages. Withers first volunteered by sharing her story and lobbying for tougher legislation. She wanted to make a difference by helping to stop this 100 percent preventable violent crime. Now as National President, Jan Withers speaks to lawmakers across the country about the importance of legislation requiring ignition interlocks (or “in-car breathalyzers”) for all drunk driving offenders, a key part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. She also advocates for federal legislation that provides research funding for technology that will turn cars into the cure for drunk driving. In addition, Withers continues to raise awareness for MADD’s victim support services, even leading a monthly support group — while also expanding the reach of MADD’s underage drinking prevention programs.