For teens in the United States, car crashes serve as one of the biggest and most common deadly threats. In 2017 alone, over 300,000 teenagers suffered from a crash and got rushed to the emergency room. Teenagers also account for 8 percent of all motor vehicle accident injuries.
Compared to the population at large, teens definitely face a higher rate of risk in car crashes. But why is this the case?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that teens face risk factors that other drivers do not have. Inexperience serves as a top risk factor. Adults often have the skill and experience necessary to know they have entered a tricky situation, and they can often maneuver their way back out of it. Teens may not even realize when they have entered something dangerous.
Teens take more risks and have higher levels of risk-taking behaviors, too. Fewer teens wear seatbelts, leading to more severe injury. Only slightly over 50 percent of high school students wear seatbelts as passengers. They speed more often. They also drive during the night and drink and drive at a higher rate, which can lead to more severe crashes.
As far as demographics go, teens aged 16 to 19 suffer from the highest rate of crashes. Male drivers suffer from twice the rate of fatalities as female drivers, possibly due to the increased risk taking behaviors. Teenagers with more recent licenses also have a higher rate of getting into crashes, which relates back to the inexperience factor. With time and practice, all drivers will shake at least some of their risky behaviors.