Fatal Car Crashes Involving Teens Surge in 2015

Deadly teen car accidents increases in 2015

So much of the national discussion on driving safety is aimed at America's youngest drivers—in some states 15-year-olds can apply for learner's permits, and in Pennsylvania you'll find droves of 16-year-olds with freshly printed driver's licenses. But a new report suggests the problem might be with their older counterparts.

While the number of fatal crashes decreased among drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 by 56 percent over a 10-year period, the same cannot be said for those who are just a few years older. Among those drivers, there was just a 44 percent drop in fatal accidents.

Shocking Teen Driving Statistics

Here's another statistic to consider: While the overall number of fatal crashes dropped 7 percent in 2015, the number of deadly car accidents involving teenagers increased by 10 percent. That's the first upswing since 2006.

The takeaway? While strides have been made in reducing the number of fatal crashes on America's roadways in general—and among young drivers specifically—we still have a long way to go.

According to the national report:

  • Teen drivers are generally 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
  • Older teen drivers—those between the ages of 18 and 20—are twice as likely as younger teen drivers to be involved in fatal crashes between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.

Drunk Driving and Teens: A Continuing Problem

Then there is the prevalence of fatal DUI crashes among teens. Check out these telling statistics:

  • Of teen drivers killed who had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or more—the legal limit of intoxication—who were killed in crashes, 8 percent were 15, and another 8 percent were 16.
  • 18 percent were 17.
  • 19 percent were 18.
  • 24 percent were 19.
  • 28 percent were 20.

Ending the Epidemic of Fatal Teen Crashes

In response to these statistics, the Governor's Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) recommended several strategies to help reduce the number of teen-related crashes on America's roadways. They include:

  • The expansion of graduated license requirements so they include not only teens, but all drivers younger than 21.
  • Making behind-the-wheel driver education and training mandatory for all young—and new—drivers.
  • Sending warning letters addressing unsafe driving practices when a young driver receives a moving violation.

Tips for Parents of Teens Who Drive

Fortunately, there are also steps that parents can take to help address the uptick in fatal crashes involving teens:

  • Encourage safe driving skills.
  • Utilize new technology and apps that allow you to monitor your teen's driving, and set limits on speed.
  • Practice common sense. Example: Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the most deadly times of year for older teen drivers in particular. Why? They could be rusty. Many older teens who return home from college for Thanksgiving and winter break haven't driven since they left for school months before. So, letting them take out the car for a night out with friends could end with an accident. Before tossing them their keys for a solo drive, hop in with them for a local trip to ensure their skills are still on point.
  • Brush up on our safety tips and statistics so that, when you do have a discussion with your child, you're armed with the best techniques and latest information.

The uptick in fatal crashes involving teens is a concern we should all be taking seriously. Take it from us: We've represented thousands of people who've been injured in car crashes over the last 30 years. Motor vehicle crashes are devastating—and we hope you never have to deal with the fallout from one.

But we also know that even when you take all the precautions, sometimes accidents still happen. If you're hurt in one, know that Edgar Snyder & Associates is here to help you. If you or someone you care about was hurt in a car accident, call us today for a free case review. We're available 24/7.

Governor's Highway Safety Administration