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Why are teens at a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Personal Injury |

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are one of the major risks that teenagers face. In 2017, approximately 300,000 teenagers went to the emergency room due to injuries that they suffered during a crash. Teenagers account for eight percent of the total costs of all motor vehicle injuries. 

Why are teenagers at such a higher risk than the rest of the population? 

Teens at risk

While teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most common accident demographic, some teenagers are more at risk than others. For instance, fatal crashes are twice as likely to happen to male drivers in that age group than female drivers. Teenagers who recently received their licenses are also more at risk than those who have had the license for a couple of years. A 16-year-old has a higher crash rate than an 18-year-old. 

Risk factors

Several factors put teenage drivers at risk. First, is inexperience. A teenager may be less likely to recognize a bad situation. Adults avoid critical errors more often. Also, teens are more likely to forego seatbelts. This can increase the risk of serious injuries and fatalities. A little over half of all high school students always wear a seatbelt as a passenger. 

Teens are more likely to speed than their adult counterparts. As an additional risk, they may not know how to stay the proper distance from one vehicle. Other risk factors for car accidents include alcohol use and nighttime driving. Most accidents occur on the weekend and around 40 percent of teen accidents occur at night.