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What are Some Crucial Safety Tips for Teenage Drivers?

January 25, 2021

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Nearly 2,500 teenagers between the ages of 13 to 19 years old died in car crashes in 2018 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Teenage drivers are at higher risk of being involved in car accidents due to inexperience and susceptibility to distractions, such as passengers and texting. However, teenagers can learn to drive safer by understanding the risk factors involved and taking some precautions behind the wheel.

Why are Teenagers More Likely to be Involved in Car Accidents?

Teenagers are at high risk for motor vehicle crashes. The CDC reports that those who are at highest risk are teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old. There are several reasons why teenagers are more likely to be involved in car accidents. Being aware of the factors that put them at risk can help reduce the number of car accidents and injuries among this vulnerable age group. The following contains the eight leading causes of teenage crashes and injuries.

Lack of Experience

Inexperience is the number one contributing factor to teenage car accidents and injuries. Several studies analyzed by the CDC show that teenagers are also more likely than older, experienced drivers to underestimate the dangers involved in a situation. Such critical decision errors can lead to catastrophic accidents, especially when other risk factors are present.

Teenage Passengers

Teenage drivers are two and a half times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger than they are when driving alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When driving with multiple passengers, teenagers are three times more likely to be in a car accident. The NHTSA cautions that the risk of a fatal crash continues to increase with the number of teenagers in the car.

Driving at Night

Nighttime driving increases the risk of an accident, according to the CDC. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 50 percent of traffic deaths happen at night, mainly due to compromised night vision, rush hour traffic, and impaired drivers. Teenagers are no exception. The CDC reports that in 2018, 37 percent of fatal crashes among teenagers between 13 to 19 years old occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Not Wearing a Seat Belt

Seat belts save lives; however, teenagers may not understand the importance of buckling up in the car. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important safety measures. The NHTSA reports that 47 percent of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing seat belts. That same year, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved approximately 14,955 lives.


Passengers are not the only distraction teenage drivers encounter. Talking or texting on the phone, eating and drinking, adjusting the navigational device, applying makeup, and reaching for objects are common forms of distracted driving. The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that 39 percent of U.S. high school students who drove that year texted or emailed while driving at least once in the month preceding the survey.


Drowsy driving is prevalent in the United States. A National Sleep Foundation survey reveals that approximately half of all adult motorists consistently drive while fatigued. Also, 20 percent of those surveyed admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the past year. Due to the change in their circadian rhythm, teenagers may not be able to fall asleep as early as they used to.

Reckless Driving

Speeding killed 9,378 people in 2018, according to the NHTSA. For more than 20 years, speeding has been a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. Teenage drivers are more likely to speed and generally allow shorter headways than adult drivers. Since they often lack the maturity and judgment to assess risky situations, teenagers are more likely to drive too fast in hazardous road conditions.

Impaired Driving

Drunk driving is particularly dangerous for teenagers. The CDC reports that teenage drivers are at higher risk of being involved in a crash than older motorists who have the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC), even when that BAC is below the legal limit. The 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey also reveals that 16.7 percent of U.S. high school students previously rode with an impaired driver at least once during the 30-day period before the survey.

Important Safety Tips for Teenage Drivers

Parents are key to safe teenage driving, according to the CDC. Setting a good example is one of the most important steps parents can do to keep their teenagers safe. However, teenagers must also look out for themselves and others on the road. Some driver safety tips for teenagers include the following:

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Avoid distractions while driving; put phones and electronic devices away and on silent.
  • Be especially alert when driving at nighttime, and make sure the headlights are aimed properly.
  • Check the car, including the tires, fluids, mirrors, and headlights, before heading out.
  • Do not drive under the influence.
  • Do not exceed the speed limit, and reduce speed according to conditions.
  • Leave early to allow plenty of time to reach the destination.
  • Maintain a longer following distance, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  • Obey the rules of the road.
  • Take a driver education course.
  • When driving in the snow, be aware of places where roads are particularly slick, such as bridges, overpasses, and shady areas.
  • Whenever it is possible, do not drive with teenage passengers.

When am I Eligible for Compensation After a Car Accident?

Teenagers must remain vigilant at all times to reduce their risk of being injured in a crash. Depending on where the accident occurred, someone who is injured in a car accident may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. In Virginia, injured drivers must prove that the other motorist was 100 percent responsible for the accident. Under the state’s contributory negligence rule, those who bear any fault for the accident, even one percent, are barred from recovery.

Successful claimants may collect several types of damages in Virginia, including compensation for the following:

  • Car repairs
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Personal injury car accident claims must generally be brought within the two-year statute of limitations. It is advisable for a car crash victim to consult an experienced lawyer who can ensure that their claim is filed within the time frame allotted by law, along with all necessary documentation.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers

Teenagers are especially vulnerable to car accidents. If you were hit by a negligent teenage driver or your teenager was in an accident through no fault of their own, contact a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our seasoned legal team can help you file your claim and collect compensation for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 for a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

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