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Teenagers Driving Dangerously

New study finds that teenagers tend to be driving dangerously a few years after receiving a license. With driving experience, many teenagers become over-confident and put themselves at greater risk of being in an accident.

A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company found that after a few years of driving, teenagers tendPersonal Injury Attorney Roanoke Virginia to be over-confident in their driving ability and develop bad – and dangerous – driving habits. Among the most startling discoveries is that 75 percent of high school seniors “feel confident” of their driving abilities, and 71 percent of those surveyed admitted that they use a phone while driving.

The biggest surprise of this study was that it is high school seniors, and not sophomores, that are most likely to be in a crash. The report indicates that more than 50 percent of high school seniors have crashes or near-misses, compared to only 34 percent of sophomores.

The study also included parents. One insight suggested by the study is that there is some correlation between parents punishing teens less for bad driving habits and the increase in dangerous driving habits.

The dangerous driving habits identified clearly show an increase in risky behavior while driving as teens gather more driving experience. For example:

Changing music 26% 32% 40%
Having 3 or more passengers 31% 35% 47%
Speeding 18% 23% 35%
Driving drowsy 13% 15% 26%

[source: liberty mutual/SADD]

One recommendation coming from the study is that parents continue to teach their teens safe driving habits and reward safe driving. The study also noted that there are monitoring devices that parents can install in vehicles to track the teens’ driving habits.

The findings of this study are consistent with Virginia crash report data. In 2016:

2,541 16-year-olds were involved in crashes, resulting in 7 deaths and 649 injuries

4,800 17-year-olds were involved in crashes, resulting in 8 deaths and 1,149 injuries

5,767 18-year-olds were involved in crashes, resulting in 14 deaths and 1,330 injuries

6,387 19-year-olds were involved in crashes, resulting in 22 deaths and 1,528 injuries


Other data (from other analyses) about teenagers driving dangerously:

  • 56 percent of teens report talking on the phone while driving
  • Teen death rates increase with each additional passenger
  • Only 44 percent of teens said they would speak up if someone was driving dangerously
  • Teenage drivers with involved parents were twice as likely to wear seatbelts
  • Talking on a phone while driving doubled the likelihood of an accident and slowed reaction time to that of someone 70 years old
  • With any level of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for teens than for people of any other age level.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading causes of teen crashes are:

  • Driver inexperience
  • Driving with teen passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Failure to use seat belts
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Impaired driving

The data gathered here from several sources indicates that older teens are more likely to become over-confident of their abilities. It also suggests that there is an important role for parents to play in the development of safe driving habits throughout the teen years (the numbers drop significantly at age 20). We hope these insights will be helpful to teens and to parents in preventing teenagers driving dangerously.

If you or a loved one is injured in a crash with a teen driver, we are here to help you obtain justice and fair compensation for your injuries, hurts, and harms. Call the trusted attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C.



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