Do Teenagers Cause More Car Accidents than Adults?

If you have ever purchased car insurance for a teenager, you know that insurance premiums for teenagers are significantly higher than for adults with clean driving records. This is even true if both drivers have only recently earned their driver’s license. 

You may be wondering whether this higher premium is deserved. Teenage driving and accident statistics from the CDC suggest that it is.

Teenage Drivers Are at Higher Risk of Collisions

According to the CDC, teens aged 16 to 19 are three times as likely as older drivers to be involved in a fatal car accident. Male drivers in this age range, in particular, are at the highest risk. They are twice as likely as female drivers to die in a car accident. 

Additionally, the risk of a fatal crash increases with the presence of every young adult besides the driver in the car.

The risk also notably decreases with age within the category of teenage drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-old drivers are 1.5 times more likely to get into an accident than 18-year-old and 19-year-old drivers.

Why Do Teens Cause More Accidents?

The primary risk factor in teenagers is immaturity. As a rule, teenagers are more reckless than older drivers. Fewer teenage drivers wear seat belts, and teenage drivers are more likely to speed and use electronic devices while driving. These factors lead to an increased likelihood of accidents and also increase the seriousness of accidents.

Teenage drivers are particularly in danger when driving at night. Nighttime driving is a difficult skill that younger drivers have not fully mastered. As a result, teenage drivers are three times as likely to get into a fatal crash at night than drivers with at least ten years of experience.

Another factor in teenage accidents is drinking and driving. For biological reasons, teenagers are more significantly affected by alcohol than older drivers. Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents after drinking, even when they have identical blood alcohol concentrations to older drivers. 

The results are similar when teenagers drive under the influence of drugs as well.

How to Prevent Teenage Car Accidents

If you want to protect your teenage driver from accidents (and incidentally lower their insurance premiums at the same time), set some rules for your teenager. 

Tell your teenager to:

  • Only drive during the day unless absolutely necessary to drive at night
  • Never use an electronic device while driving except as a GPS
  • Avoid highway driving whenever possible
  • Only change music while stopped
  • Always obey speed limits
  • Drive with as few passengers in the car as possible

While the independence of a vehicle makes it hard to enforce driving rules on your teenager, you should be able to reduce risk just by setting rules like this and explaining why they are important. Even if your teenager doesn’t follow every rule, if they follow some of them, they will be at less risk of car accidents while driving.

How to Prepare Your Teenager for a Car Accident

Almost every driver in the U.S. has experienced at least one car accident. While you don’t want your teenager to get into one, you should still prepare them just in case.

Even though it shouldn’t be used while driving, you should ensure that your teenage driver has a cell phone with a list of emergency numbers programmed into it. Also, make sure they always have their insurance card, license, and registration with them while driving. 

Finally, you should trust them with a low-limit emergency credit card that they may need to use after an accident.

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