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Common Causes of Deadly Teen Car Crashes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2014, 2,270 teens aged 16 to 19 were killed in car accidents nationwide.  Put another way, this means six drivers aged 16 to 19 are killed every day in this country.

The CDC also reports that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are approximately three times more likely than drivers aged 20 or older to be involved in a fatal crash.

The number of teenagers involved in fatal car crashes rose for the first time last year in nearly a decade.  That increase last year was 10 percent, according to federal regulators.

Approximately eight in 10 drivers between the ages of 35 and 55 admit to driving while talking on the phone.  This is more than the number of teens doing the same.  Approximately half of adults and teens admit to driving at least 15 mph over the speed limit.  However, distraction, speed and inexperience for the teen drivers result in a higher rate of fatal crashes.

Poor Visual Scanning

Poor visual scanning is the most common driving mistake teen drivers make that results in fatal crashes.  Drivers need to be able to notice many things all at the same time.  This includes utilizing both central vision and peripheral vision.  Central vision includes what is going on in front of the driver and estimating distance.  Peripheral vision allows drivers to be aware of what is going onto the side, even when the driver is not looking right at whatever it is.  Driving mistakes most frequently occur when drivers have bad habits using their vision.

Drivers must look down the road ahead to know if he or she should start braking or if there are any hazards in the roadway.  Know what cars are around you and check carefully before changing lanes.  It

is also important to be aware of the speed you are travelling.


Speeding is the next most common mistake teen drivers make which results in fatal crashes.  Beyond exceeding posted speed limits, going too fast for road conditions is also a factor in automobile crashes.  The distance required to avoid a collision increases as the driver’s speed increases.  It also increases the time required to avoid a crash.  Increased speed also means increased likelihood of injury or death if a collision does occur.

Many teens defined speeding as driving more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  Nonetheless, half of teens report driving even faster than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit at least some of the time.

Teen driver speeding becomes even more dangerous after dark, on a curvy road or on a rainy or snowy night.

Parents can take steps to encourage their teen drivers to drive at appropriate speeds.  It is important to lead by example.  This can be tough, but always follow the posted speeds while driving.  When parents are instructing teen drivers, discuss the importance of driving speeds in various road conditions.  Discuss the fact that posted speed limits do not apply to all driving conditions.  When agreeing on driving rules with your teen driver, emphasize the importance of driving at an appropriate speed based on the conditions, which include traffic volume and weather conditions.  Make sure your teen driver knows that failure to do so can result a loss of driving privileges.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the third most common mistake teen drivers make that results in fatal crashes.

Fellow passengers and music can both be a major distraction.  Friends may demand a teen driver’s attention or be rough housing in the car while the teen is trying to focus on the road.  Many states use a graduated license system that limits the number of passengers a teenage driver can have in the car at one time.

It is also important that all passengers are wearing seatbelts, including the passengers in the back seat.  Teens should be instructed that while it may seem rude, they may need to ask passengers to quiet down, especially if a teen driver is relying on their phone for directions.  Remind your teen if they miss a turn, their phone will immediately recalculate the route for them.  There is no reason to make sudden lane changes in an attempt to “stay on route.”

Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving.  Both driving and texting require one’s complete attention.  If one tries to do both, one is not really doing either very well.  Talking on a cell phone is also a major distraction and is illegal in many states, precisely because it is dangerous.  These forms of distracted driving are also very simple to avoid.  Pull off the road and complete conversations before resuming your travels.

Another form of dangerous driving is drowsy driving.  According to the CDC, drowsy driving is when a driver is suffering from sleepiness or fatigue.  The most common cause is lack of sleep, but it can also be caused by alcohol, medications or long hours at work.

Falling asleep at the wheel is the most dangerous form of drowsy driving, but it can also affect a teen driver in other ways.  These can include slowed reaction time, the ability to make good decisions and making it more difficult to pay attention to the road.

Ironically, driving instructors often complain that parents are doing a worse job of instructing their teens in driving than they were a decade ago.  Further, parents are frequently more often guilty of bad driving than their teenage children.  It is thought that experience makes up for these poor driving habits.

Graduated licensing can help young drivers adjust to their new responsibilities.  These rules can restrict the hours young drivers can be on the road, the number of passengers that can be in the car as well as other restrictions.  However, many young drivers are waiting until age eighteen to obtain a driver’s license, allowing them to avoid the graduated licensing restrictions and the benefits that go along with them.

You Can Rely on Bader Scott Injury Lawyers

If you or your loved ones are dealing with injuries due to a car crash, contact the determined personal injury lawyers in Atlanta at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.

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Seth Bader
(678) 562-5595