Studies have continually shown teen drivers being one of the prominent age groups with a high risk of getting injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. But unlike all other age groups (excluding the elderly), teenagers tend to drive less. Despite this, the number of motor vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths involving teenagers are still disproportionately high. In fact, teenagers aged 16-19 years old have per-mile crash rates that are three times more than the per-mile rates of drivers who are 20 years old or above.
Statistics on teenage driving deaths, 2012
According to the latest Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, the year 2012 saw a total of 2,823 teenagers from ages 13 to 19 getting killed in motor vehicle crashes. In comparison, in 2011, the figure was 3,033. This makes the 2012 figure on teenage crash deaths 7 percent fewer than the year prior. Since the NHTSA recorded statistical data in 1975, the numbers have drastically decreased, from 8,748 to the current 2012 figure.
Meanwhile, a large percentage of them (2,228) were passenger vehicle occupants. Of the said figure, nearly more than half of them (1,200) were drivers. Looking at the overall situation, motor vehicle accidents remain to be the leading cause of death among teens aged 13-19 years old in the United States as of 2010, which was the latest year for which statistics are available, leading by a large margin over homicide, suicide, and malignant neoplasms.
What makes teenage drivers at high risk of injury or death?
Although the figures above show motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers decreasing on a yearly basis, the fact that they still occur in the nation’s roadways is still a lingering issue among law enforcement, traffic safety, and many local, state, and federal agencies. As it is, there are various risk factors as to why they happen. These include the following:
- Immaturity and inexperience. Teens tend to take some risks without thinking of the consequences of their actions, and they do so by speeding up their vehicles and doing other risky habits. The lack of recognition and response to certain hazards would most likely result in accidents, resulting in injuries or deaths.
- Disregard of the seat belt. Some teens find wearing seat belts either uncomfortable or not cool at all. They often fail to realize the importance of these devices. In fact, vehicle crashes that recorded in the U.S. found passenger vehicle occupants, particularly teenagers, were not wearing seat belts.
- Alcohol. It was found in the NHTSA statistics that even though teen drivers are less likely to drive after drinking alcohol than adults, they are significantly at risk of getting involved in crashes if they do so.
Curbing teenage driving accidents
Teenage driving and its risk involved are definite concerns. Fortunately, the NHTSA, law enforcement agencies, and most local and state government units continuously exert their efforts in raising awareness regarding accidents on the road, especially to families. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney is hoping that educational campaigns on driver safety would be strengthened in order to lessen the incidents of motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers.