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Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

May 6, 2019

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Teenage Drivers with Teenage Passengers – A New Study

A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) was released in May 2016, and it discussed the connection between teen drivers with other young passengers and fatal accidents.

The study showed that the risk of fatal teen car accidents dramatically increases when young drivers of 16 or 17 have teenage passengers.

We can all understand why this would be true. The lack of concentration when driving isn’t quite second nature yet, and “trying to impress” can be attributed to this.

Did your loved one get injured in a teen driver accident? If so, our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help you recover compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses.

Contact our Chicago car accident law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to determine your legal rights.

Connection between Teen Passengers & Motor Car Accidents

Teenage Car Accident Statistics

  • When a teen driver has a passenger in the car under 21, the chances of a fatal crash increase by 44%
  • When two or more teen passengers are present, the risk doubles, passenger vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in four fatalities.
  • The crash risk of a fatality quadruples when three or more people under 21 are in the car.
  • Passenger vehicle crash deaths among female drivers aged 16-19 increased by 7% from 2017 to 2018, while fatalities among male drivers in the same age set decreased by 6%.
  • 40% of fatally injured drivers ages 16 to 17 between 2015 and 2020 involved at least one other passenger of 21 years and younger.
  • According to 2015 statistics, fatally injured drivers ages 15-20 were the highest rate among the teen population.
  • In 2017, drivers involved in fatal crashes were most likely in their early 20s. Similarly, In 2015, more than half of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes occurred between 3 PM and 9 PM.
  • In 2019, teen fatalities in passenger vehicles occurred at 2.27 per 100,000 population, compared with 1.53 for all drivers.
  • In 2016 passenger vehicle crash deaths among teenagers accounted for 10% of all crash deaths in the United States.
  • Teenagers accounted for 26% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in the United States in 2017

A Decline in Car Accident Statistics

Teenage crash deaths have been declining for decades. Despite this progress, teenage crash deaths are still a major cause of teen deaths in the United States.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Statistics on Teen Crashes

  • Passenger vehicles are not the only ones involved in teen accidents on the road. Pedestrian deaths from teen car accidents are also on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,376 pedestrian deaths in 2015, a 9% increase from the year before.
  • According to National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,300 passenger vehicle occupants ages 15-19  were killed, and more than 282,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2017.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Report on the Link Between Alcohol and Young Drivers

According to a new report, most drivers ages 16 to 19 years old involved in fatal car accidents had low levels of blood alcohol.

The research shows that 26 percent of drivers ages 16 to 19 fatally injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher, the legal limit for adults 21 and over in all states.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report also found that 10 percent of fatally injured teenage drivers had a blood-alcohol level of .01 or higher.

“This new data reinforces what we have long known: that drinking alcohol plays a role in many crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19.”

The Statistics on Teenage vs. Adult Motor Vehicle Crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than adults. There are a few reasons for this. For one, teenagers are more likely to take risks when driving.

They’re more prone to distracted driving, whether by their passengers or cell phones. And, of course, they’re also less experienced drivers, leading to them making mistakes on the road.

When a teen is driving with an adult over 35, the chance of a fatal crash is decreased by 62%.

Drivers in fatal crashes are most likely in their early 20s. But when it comes to non-fatal accidents, teenagers are more likely to be involved.

Causes of Teenage Auto Accidents

Many factors can contribute to teenage auto accidents. Some of the most common include:

  • Inexperience: Teen drivers are less experienced than older drivers and, thus, more likely to make mistakes behind the wheel.
  • Reckless driving: Teens are likelier to take risks like speeding or driving recklessly.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a leading cause of auto crashes for drivers of all ages, but it is widespread among young teen drivers
  • Distracted driving: Teens are more vulnerable to distracted driving due to phone use or talking with other car occupants.
  • Use of drugs or substances: Many teenage auto accidents are caused by drug use before driving. Teens may be under the influence themselves or driving with passengers under the influence.
  • Drinking alcohol: Teen drivers are also more likely to indulge in drinking alcohol and then driving than older drivers.
  • Failure to use seat belts: Seat belt use is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stay safe while driving, but many teenagers still fail to do so
  • Weekends and nighttime driving: Teenagers are likelier to drive on weekends and at night when traffic is lighter.
  • Male drivers: Studies have shown these young drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than female teen drivers
  • Driving with teen passengers: Studies have shown that teenagers are more likely to take risks with other teens in the car.
  • Teens who have just received their driver’s licenses: Studies have shown that newly-licensed teen drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than those who have had their licenses for a more extended period
  • Second-hand vehicles for teens:  Many insurance companies will offer discounts for teenagers who drive used vehicles because they are generally less expensive to insure than new vehicles. Some parents choose to give their teenagers older cars for this reason. However, used cars may not have the same safety features as recent models, which can put teens at a higher risk for accidents.

The Most Vulnerable Age Group in Teenage Fatal Auto Crashes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serious crashes are a major cause of teenage deaths in the United States.

More than 2,700 teens die in fatal crashes each year. While teenagers make up just 14% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of all motor vehicle crash deaths.

So who is most vulnerable? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the teenage years are particularly dangerous for 16- and 17-year-olds. In 2016, nearly 1,400 16- and 17-year-olds died in motor vehicle crashes, and almost 120,000 were injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, passenger vehicle drivers ages 16 to 19 have the highest rates of fatal crashes and accident-related injuries compared with any other age group. Additionally, passenger vehicle drivers ages 16 to 19 have the highest rate of fatal crashes.

Young drivers involved in car accidents are a big concern in today’s society. The good news is that drivers aged  16 to 19 have significantly improved their crash rates over the past decade.

Young Drivers in Fatal Crashes

Many young drivers get into auto accidents. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 5,474 people between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed in fatal car accidents. U.S. teens’ motor vehicle death rate is higher than any other age.

It is alarming, considering this group only makes up about seven percent of the population. Substance abuse, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt are among the most common causes for drivers involved in fatal collisions.

The transportation risk behaviors measured in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) include behaviors contributing to unintentional injury and violence among youths.

Motorcyclist deaths resulting from teenage auto accidents have risen in recent years. In 2016, 4,735 teenage motorcyclist deaths occurred due to car accidents, an 8% increase from the year before.

Motor Vehicle Fatal Crashes Involving Teenagers

Motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers are a leading cause of death and injury among young people in the United States.

In 2016, 2,636 teenagers between 13 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and 292,000 were injured.

Teenagers are likelier than any other age group to be involved in fatal crashes. In 2015, the teenage car accident fatalities per 100,000 population were almost three times the rate for all fatally injured drivers ages combined. About seven teens die every day in the United States from car accidents.

At the same blood alcohol concentration, unsupervised teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than supervised drivers.

Teenage Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

It is no secret that car accidents are a major cause of death among teenagers. In 2016, 2,433 teen drivers aged 16-19 were killed in the United States, and 292,742 were treated in emergency departments for injuries from motor vehicle crashes. (Source: CDC)

Most of the fatally injured teen drivers in 2016 were male drivers. Despite these sobering statistics, many teenagers continue to take unnecessary risks behind the wheel.

Young teen drivers covered under their parents’ insurance are, on average, more expensive to insure than more experienced drivers. The reason for this is simple: teen drivers are more inexperienced and more likely to get into accidents.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is an organization that collects data on insurance claims for vehicle damage and losses to improve highway safety.

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than any other age.

Young Drivers Involved in Fatal Accidents

In 2017, 3,636 people were fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers (15- to 24-year-olds), representing a decrease of 9 percent from the 4,009 fatalities in 2016.

Despite this decrease, young drivers continue to be overrepresented in fatal accidents. In 2017, young drivers were involved in 14 percent of all the motor vehicle fatalities in the United States, though they comprised only 8 percent of the total licensed drivers in the country.

Fatally injured male drivers, ages 15 to 24, are almost double that of their female counterparts (24.1 per 100,000 licensed male drivers compared to 12.4 per 100,000 licensed female drivers).

Single-vehicle crashes are the most common type of teenage car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all 16 and 17-year-old teen driver deaths in 2016 resulted from single-vehicle crashes.

High School Student’s Involvement in Traffic Crashes

In 2015, 1,844 male and 511 female high school students were fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016).

Male high school students were 1.3 times as likely as female high school students to be killed in a motor vehicle crash 2015. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016).

High school students’ behavior behind the wheel plays a significant role in their involvement in traffic crashes. The students’ other transportation risk behaviors, such as not wearing a safety belt, drunk driving, and speeding, also play a role.

The most popular days for teen car accidents are Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, “there were 2,524 teen motor vehicle deaths on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday-which represented 38 percent of all teen motor vehicle fatalities that occurred during the week.”

Why is Friday, Saturday, or Sunday so dangerous? Teens are more likely to be out on these days, driving around with their friends.

Passenger Vehicle Occupants in Teenage Auto Crashes

Vehicle occupants in teen crashes are often seriously injured or killed. Passenger vehicle occupants make up most of those fatally injured in car crashes yearly. Several factors contribute to high injuries and fatalities among teenage passengers.

First, teenagers are more likely than any other age set to be involved in fatal car crashes due partly to their inexperience behind the wheel and their propensity for risky behavior.

Second, teenage passengers are often unrestrained, disregarding seat belt use or other safety devices that could help protect them in a crash compared to other age groups.

Third, most teenage passengers are riding in vehicles not equipped with the latest safety features, including airbags and electronic stability control, which can significantly reduce the severity of injuries in a crash.

Finally, teen drivers often travel with other teen passenger vehicle occupants, which increases the likelihood of severe injury or motor vehicle crash deaths, as multiple occupants are more likely to be involved in a serious crash than a single occupant.

Reducing Teenage Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

State licensing agencies will not be surprised by this study and its statistics. From the 90s, states across America started to enact laws to reduce the number of passengers our younger drivers are allowed.

Known as Graduated Driver Licensing Laws (GDL), they set out to restrict young drivers from being in high-risk situations, including driving with younger passengers in the car. The different Graduated Driver Licensing Laws have three stages, including.

  • Learner
  • Intermediate
  • Full Privilege

As you work up the levels, they contain fewer restrictions to your driving.

  • Thirty-two states restrict cell phone use or have banned it for novice teen drivers. So this includes any teens under 18 or “learners.”
  • Forty-five states and Washington D.C have restrictions on passengers for anyone in the intermediate stage. Most states say that for the first six months to a year of driving, you cannot have any passengers under 21.
  • Nighttime driving is restricted in 48 states and Washington D.C. for the intermediate stage and new drivers.

Highway Safety Precautions

If you are a teenage passenger, you can do a few things to protect yourself.

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Ensure that the vehicle you are riding in is equipped with the latest highway safety features.
  • Avoid traveling with other teenagers, as this increases your risk of being involved in a serious crash.

As more focus is put upon teen drivers and possible distractions, and the new GDL laws are being made, there is hope that teen passenger deaths while driving will be reduced. New drivers need time to become better drivers and help reduce the statistics of fatal auto accidents.

Parents can help by encouraging their teens not to drive in groups and become more focused on their driving.

Importance of Using Seat Belts to Prevent Serious Crash-Related Injuries

A seat belt is a device installed in a vehicle to help prevent occupants from being thrown about inside, or ejected from, the car during a collision or other sudden stop.

Seat belt use is considered one of the most effective safety devices in a motor vehicle, and its use is estimated to reduce serious crash-related injuries by 50%.

However, wearing a seat belt correctly is as important as using one. Incorrectly wearing a seat belt – for example, placing the shoulder strap behind the back or under the arm – can reduce its effectiveness and cause injuries.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looks at teenage auto accidents and how to prevent them.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other age set. Teens between 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal car accident than adults.

Seeking Compensation Following a Teenage Auto Accident

As a teenager, you will likely be involved in at least one car accident. You may be entitled to compensation if you are injured due to the accident.

The compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries, the insurance coverage of the teen driver who caused them, and other factors.

If you are involved in a car accident, you should first seek medical attention. Even if you do not think you are seriously injured, getting checked out by a doctor is essential.

Legal Options for The Deceased Teenage Drivers’ Families Following Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

The loss of a child is one of the hardest things a family can go through. If your child was killed in a car accident, you may wonder what your legal options are.

If another driver caused the accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against that driver. If the other driver was a minor, their parents or guardians might be liable for your child’s death.

If a defective car part caused the accident, you may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that part.

When your child is fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident, you may file a lawsuit against the driver if they are found.

If your child was killed in a car accident, you might receive compensation for your child’s death, including money for funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teenage Auto Accidents

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand that the aftermath of a teen driver’s car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you are a teen driver. You may have unanswered questions about what to do next and how to move forward.

Here, our teenage car accident lawyers answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients:

Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m a Teenager Involved in a Car Accident?

It depends on the severity of the accident and injuries. If you or your passengers sustained injuries, it is advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected and discuss all possible compensation options. Even if you were not injured, but the accident caused damage to your passenger vehicle, a lawyer can still help you recover damages from the at-fault driver&’s insurance company.

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Lawyer?

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. Their fees are typically a percentage of the settlement or verdict they recover on your behalf.

What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?

If the other driver was at fault and did not have insurance, you may still be able to recover damages by filing a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage if you have it. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you may still be able to recover damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

I Was in a Car Accident, But I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt. Does That Mean I Can’t Recover Damages?

In some states, not wearing a seat belt can be used as evidence of comparative negligence, which means that you may still be able to recover damages. Still, your award may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

I Was in a Car Accident Caused by a Defective Tire. What Are My Legal Options?

If a defective tire caused your accident, you might have a claim against the tire manufacturer. These insurance collision claims can be complex, so it is essential to consult with an experienced Chicago attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Hiring a Lawyer to Resolve Teenage Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

Fatal motor vehicle crashes are a major cause of teenage deaths in the United States. When these fatal crashes occur, it is essential to have legal representation to ensure that the teenager’s best interests are represented.

Our Chicago teenage motor vehicle crash lawyers at our firm have experience resolving teen driver motor vehicle crash cases involving teenagers. They can help you get the best outcome for your child.

Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to explore your legal options.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

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