Why do Teenagers Get Into More Car Accidents?

Car accidents among teenagers are increasing at a climbing rate. Read more to find out why.

Emma Safari

Car accidents among teenagers are increasing at a climbing rate. Read more to find out why.

Emma Safari, Photojournalist

Car accidents are a common occurrence. An occurrence that has become more normalized than before. Especially amongst teenagers. It is almost as though the world expects teenagers to be involved in a car accident sooner rather than later. For this reason, the price of teenagers being on the road is much higher in comparison to adults. “I was just involved in a car accident where I rear-ended someone. The driver in front of me swerved and slammed on their brakes, and I just couldn’t stop fast enough; and by California law, I am at fault. I think the driver in front of me also knew that it was their fault because they just drove away afterward so I couldn’t exchange any insurance with them,” says Maddie Austin (12). 

According to The CDC Teenagers between the ages of 16-19 are most at risk to be involved in a car accident (cdc.gov). They are nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash in comparison to individuals aged twenty years old and over. But why? Not only is it a lack of experience, but teenagers are less likely to be able to make split-second critical decisions than adults.

I don’t think teenagers are bad at driving, I think we get overwhelmed when things don’t go our way. I also think that is why a lot of people are overly weary of us driving.”

— Maddie Austin (12).

In addition, teenagers have the tendency to be distracted drivers. Oftentimes, many are seen texting or changing the music. By not paying complete attention to the road, it can lead to traveling above the speed limit and a lack of special awareness among other cars. It only takes a split second for something to change, and if the driver’s eyes are off the road for even a split second, it can cause an accident that could possibly lead to death.

To add, teen drinking and substance use is a very real thing. Drunk driving among teenagers is unfortunately a common practice. According to teendriversource.org, in 2020, 29% of drivers aged 15-20 involved in fatal crashes had high blood alcohol concentrations. 

For these reasons, many people are weary of teenage drivers. When teenagers become involved in car accidents, the opposing party often holds them liable and accuses them of being distracted drivers. Even insurance companies. Granted, insurance companies offer discounts for teenagers who have a certain grade point average but many families that have teenage drivers are seeing paying upwards of three hundred dollars every month to keep them insured in case of an accident. It is a struggle for many families to keep up with these payments.