Are teenage drivers responsible for more accidents?

Every year a new wave of drivers joins the road. These teenage drivers have the reputation for being more dangerous than experienced drivers. The assumption is that their lack of experience combined with unsafe driving practices lead to more car accidents and traffic violations.

The question is whether these beliefs have the support of objective evidence. Should you truly be more concerned about teenage drivers or is this negative reputation based on unfounded claims? Most statistics paint a picture that your fear of teenage drivers is understandable.

Statistics support the claim

Teen drivers do not make up a significant percentage of people on the road, but they are involved a high percentage of car accidents. Teenagers have a crash rate that is nearly four times higher than drivers that are at least 20 years old. These accidents often result in severe injury and death. Car accidents are also the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 13 and 19.

In particular, 16-year-olds are the more likely to get into a crash than every other age group. Moreover, roughly 20 percent of 16-year-olds get into at least one accident during their first year of driving. These numbers also tend to skyrocket with each mile per hour that teenager drivers above the speed limit.

Simply put, historical evidence suggests that teenagers are a greater threat on the road than veteran drivers. There also is not much reason to believe that this trend will change in the near future.

Reasons for concern

There are a number of reasons for the statistics supporting the claim that teenage drivers are responsible for more accidents. The primary issue is one that young drivers actually have very little control of. Lack of experience driving makes it more difficult for teenage drivers to make the quick decisions that come naturally to veterans. They are simply less comfortable driving than those who have been on the road for many years, which helps explain some of the impulsive and questionable decisions.

That said, there are also poor habits that contribute to poor driving by teenagers. They are more likely to engage in speeding and make other illegal driving decisions. These bad practices naturally increase the likelihood that a teenage driver will be in a car accident.

Lastly, technology and other distractions contribute to teenage driving issues. Sending a text or glancing at social media decreases your reaction speed, which naturally has a major impact on young drivers who already have less experience on the road.

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