blog home Car Accidents How Teenage Drivers Lose Concentration

How Teenage Drivers Lose Concentration

By Jason Bottlinger on February 23, 2023

Teens in Nebraska can start driving as early as age 14 if they qualify for a school permit. Teen drivers are more likely than adults to cause a wreck. Nationwide, the fatal crash rate per miles driven for teens 16 to 19 years old is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and older, as stated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Why Are Teens More Likely to Cause a Crash?

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, according to the CDC. Various factors can put teen drivers – and others on the roadway – at greater risk, including:

  • Distracted driving: Teen drivers can be distracted by texting, talking on the phone, taking pictures, checking social media, playing loud music, and talking to other teens in the vehicle.
  • Driver inexperience: Teens lack the hours spent behind the wheel that give older drivers the ability to recognize and react properly to hazardous situations. They are more likely to make critical errors that lead to a crash.
  • Speeding: Teenagers may drive too fast just for fun. They are more likely than adult drivers to speed and to tailgate. CDC states that 35% of male and 18% of female drivers ages 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal accidents in 2020 were speeding at the time of the crash.
  • Driving at night and on the weekends: CDC reports that, in 2020, 44% of motor vehicle fatalities among teens ages 13 to 19 happened between 9 pm and 6 am, and 50% occurred on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays. Nighttime driving is particularly risky for teens. The fatal crash rate at night is approximately three times as high among teen drivers ages 16 to 19 as among adult drivers ages 30 to 59.
  • Alcohol use: Teens have a higher risk than older drivers of being involved in a crash with the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Although it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol, a national Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that some high school students drive after drinking or ride with a driver who has been drinking.
  • Drug use: Marijuana is the drug most commonly associated with impaired driving. It can impair motor coordination, reaction time, and decision making skills. Of U.S. high school students surveyed, 13% admitted to driving after using marijuana during the previous 30 days. Many different substances can impair a teen’s ability to drive.

What Is a Parent’s Role in Teen Driving Behavior?

Parents play an important role in keeping their teenage sons and daughters safe on the road. Monitoring and involvement of parents can help reduce risky behavior and increase safe driving among teens. To help keep your child safe behind the wheel:

  • Make your son or daughter aware of the leading causes of teen crashes and injuries.
  • Know your state’s graduated driver licensing laws and insist on compliance. Set additional restrictions when appropriate.
  • Provide supervised driving practice under varied conditions.
  • Set clear rules, such as always wearing a seatbelt, not driving with teen passengers, and never drinking or using drugs before driving.
  • For the first six months of licensed driving, make sure your teen is off the road by 9 or 10 pm.
  • Use technology, such as in-vehicle monitoring devices that provide feedback about driving performance to both teen drivers and their parents.

Teen drivers pose a risk, not only to themselves, but to others sharing the road. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a teen driver, you may have a claim for compensation. Contact an Omaha car accident lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234.

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