Talking to Your Teen about PA's Latest Crash Statistics

Talk about safe driving with your teen

In a recent report, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) said drivers between the ages of 16 and 21 are of particular concern because they are the least experienced and "also prone to overzealous driving performance."

If you're the parent of a teenage driver, we can guess what you're thinking: "Tell me something I don't already know."

Please allow us to do just that.

Many parents may not realize this fact: That the latest Pennsylvania crash statistics reveal that for another year, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death among drivers—and passengers—in this age range.

In Pennsylvania, young drivers caused nearly a fifth of all motor vehicle crashes in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Those 2015 Pennsylvania crash statistics include a treasure trove of information about teen behavior on the road—and the car accident injury attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates wanted to make sure you understood the numbers.

By educating yourself about how your teen's behavior behind the wheel (or, in some cases, behind the handle bars) can potentially put them—and others—in harm's way, you can better discuss with them safe-driving strategies.

Here are three things to discuss with your teens:

1. Of All PA Drivers, Teens Hit Fixed Objects the Most Often

In Pennsylvania, young drivers were responsible for nearly 32 percent of accidents in which stationary objects were struck. Drivers in this age range also caused about 25 percent of all rear-end crashes in the state in 2015.

Take it from our experienced car accident injury attorneys: So-called fixed-object crashes and rear-end collisions are often caused by two factors:

  • A driver took his eyes of the road and failed to brake quickly enough to prevent an accident
  • A driver followed the vehicle in front of him too closely, not giving himself enough time to react to a sudden stop

The next time your teen wants to borrow the family car, stress to your teen that when they are behind the wheel, driving responsibly is their only job. Tell them to keep their cell phones out of view, and refrain from other types of distracted driving—behaviors that all lead to crashes.

2. Despite Outreach Efforts, Underage Drinking and Driving is Still a Problem

PennDOT officials said the number of drinking drivers younger than 21 remains a serious issue in the Keystone State.

In fact, 16 percent of all driver deaths in the 16-20 year-old age range were drinking drivers in 2015—up from 13 percent the year before.

When talking to your teen, please remind them that drunk driving is deadly—and to never get behind the wheel after drinking (or in the car with someone who has).

Here’s yet another reason: Drunk-driving accidents were 4.5 times more likely to result in a death than those that did not.

3. Teens Need to Keep Their Eyes on the Road—Even When Not Driving

It's important to note that motor vehicle crashes weren't the only accidents in which teens were injured on the road in 2015.

According to PennDOT statistics, bicyclists between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for nearly 15 percent of all bicycle accident injuries in 2015.

Young people also involved in a disproportionate number of pedestrian accidents. According to the latest Pennsylvania crash statistics, teenagers 19 and younger accounted for nearly a third of all pedestrian injuries.

While we hope these talking points will help prevent motor vehicle crashes, the attorneys here at Edgar Snyder & Associates understand that sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen.

We hope you and your loved ones never have to endure a car accident. But please know that if you do, we're here 24/7 to help answer all your legal questions. The case review is free, there's never an obligation to use our services, and there's never a fee unless we get money for you.