Serious Injury Team

January 11, 2018

The Anatomy of Teenage Car Accident

It’s important to understand why teens crash at a higher rate than adults. There are many factors that come into play, but there are several common critical errors inexperienced teen drivers make that lead to serious crashes. These include lack of scanning to detect and respond to hazards, driving too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle. Here's an example:

8:00pm
Jack, 17, drives to Sophia's house on a Friday night. He's late, so he speeds. Speeding is a factor in 35% of crash deaths involving young drivers.

8:10pm
Jack calls Sophia to tell her he's on his way. Cell phone use increases the crash risk by 300%.

8:15pm
He picks up Sophia. Adding one passenger increases the fatal crash risk by 48%.

8:25pm
Jack and Sophia stop to pick up Matt. A third passenger increases the fatality risk by 158%.

8:30pm
Jack fiddles with the radio to find a good song. 87% of teen deaths involve distracted drivers; radios rank as a top teen distraction.

8:40pm
They hit the drive-through on their way to a party. Eating at the wheel causes 2% of teen crashes.

11:50pm
Jack is tired. Nearly half of teens are sleep-deprived, and young drivers cause 55% of fatigue-related crashes.

12:00am
It's now dark. For the next nine hours, teens are three times more likely to die in a crash than during the day.

The odds of Jack and his friends getting into a car accident are stacked against them. Jack also has to drop both Sofia and Matt off at their house, thus further increasing his chances of getting into an accident tonight.