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Teen Driving Statistics and Safe Driving Facts

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Teen driving statistics show that adolescent drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of accidents on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that teen deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of teenage deaths in the United States.

If a teen driver injures you, the consequences can be devastating, leaving you with medical expenses and emotional damages. As a teen crash victim, you can pursue compensation through multiple channels, including your PIP insurance, a third-party insurance claim, or an injury lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we understand how a car accident can impact your life. If a teen driver in Michigan has injured you or a loved one, our experienced attorneys can help you explore your legal options and seek the financial compensation you deserve.

National Teen Driving Statistics

At the national level, teen driving statistics show an alarming trend among younger drivers. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that 2,730 teenagers aged between 13 and 19 died in the United States in 2020 due to crash injuries, making it one of the leading causes of death for this age group.

Fatal and Non-Fatal Crash Rates for Teen Drivers

Teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 have consistently been shown to have higher crash rates than other age groups in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics for 2020 indicate a 17% increase in the number of teen drivers who died in traffic crashes compared to the previous year. In 2020, 1,885 teen drivers lost their lives in traffic crashes.

While there has been a decrease in estimated injuries, from 204,862 in 2019 to 189,950 in 2020, the number of teens involved in fatal crashes is still significant. Despite only representing 5.1% of all licensed drivers, teen drivers made up 8.5% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020.

Per mile driven, the fatal crash rate for 16-17 year-olds is about 3 times for drivers aged 20 and above. The highest risk is associated with drivers aged 16, with the per-mile crash rate at just over 1½ times as high for this group as it is for 18-19 year-olds.

Demographics Contributing to Teen Driver Crashes

With teenage driving, inexperience, and immaturity can be a deadly combination. People in the 16 to 20-year-old age group are typically new drivers. Unfortunately, these inexperienced drivers, particularly young males, are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than older, more experienced drivers.

Recent statistics reveal that young male drivers have an involvement rate of 56.59 per 100,000 licensed drivers in fatal crashes, more than twice that of young female drivers, whose involvement rate was 21.54. Newly licensed teens are at an even higher risk of accidents, particularly during the first few months of licensure.

Top Causes of Teenage Driver Crashes

Teen driving accidents occur for several reasons, including distracted driving, inexperience, and reckless behavior. The following are the most common causes of teen driver collisions:

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving remains a significant contributor to teen driver crashes. In 2018, distraction-affected crashes resulted in 2,841 fatalities. Many states, including Michigan, have enacted laws prohibiting the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving to combat distracted driving.
  • Inexperience: Inexperience and immaturity also play a role in teenage driver crashes, as inexperienced drivers are less likely to recognize and respond to hazardous situations on the road.
  • Reckless driving and speeding: Speeding and reckless driving are common causes of teen driver crashes. Excessive speed is a factor in just over a quarter of fatal crashes, and single-vehicle crashes are also a prevalent cause of teenage driver fatalities.
  • Driving at night: Night driving is another significant risk for teenage drivers. Per mile driven, the fatal crash rate of 16-19 year-olds is about three times as high at night as for adult drivers. Potentially risky driving behaviors such as following too closely, failure to yield, and risky maneuvers also contribute to teenage driver crashes.

Teen Driving Statistics for Michigan

In Michigan, teen driving statistics reflect similar outcomes as those at the national level. According to 2021 Michigan Traffic Crash Reporting statistics, teenage drivers aged 16-20 accounted for 100 fatalities in Michigan, with 58 males and 42 females.

Besides fatalities, teenage drivers in Michigan also experience a high number of non-fatal crashes. The statistics show that out of the 71,246 traffic crash injuries reported in Michigan in 2021, 8,631 involved drivers aged 16-20. Of these, 4,034 were male, and 4,595 were female.

Demographics Contributing to Teen Driver Crashes in Michigan

Teenage drivers in Michigan make up only 7% of all licensed drivers, yet they account for 19% of all suspected serious injuries and 13% of all traffic fatalities. In 2017, there were 519,340 licensed drivers aged 20 and younger in Michigan out of 7,200,401 licensed drivers.

Male drivers in Michigan are more likely to be involved in crashes than female drivers. Teenage male drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contributing to a higher rate of accidents and fatalities.

Leading Causes of Teen Driver Crashes in Michigan

Michigan’s leading causes of teen driver crashes are similar to those in other states. Inexperience, distractions, failure to recognize hazardous situations, and impaired driving are among the most common factors contributing to crashes involving teenage drivers.

Speeding is also a contributing factor in teen crashes. Other elements contributing to teen driver crashes in Michigan include failure to wear seat belts, driving at night, and drunk driving. Teenagers are also more likely to engage in activities such as texting while driving, which increases the risk of being involved in a crash.

Initiatives to Promote Safe Driving among Teenagers

Educating teen drivers on safe driving facts and behaviors can prevent the number of crashes and fatalities caused by inexperienced drivers. Many national and state initiatives have been developed to promote safe driving among teenagers.

Community-Based Programs and Organizations Promoting Safe Teen Driving

Several community-based programs and organizations have been established to promote safe driving among teenagers. At the national level, organizations like the National Safety Council and the Partners for Safe Teen Driving provide resources and training to encourage safe driving behaviors.

The Michigan State Police partner with organizations like Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to educate teens on safe driving practices. These programs offer resources like webinars, online courses, and community events to help educate teens and their families about the dangers of reckless driving.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning sponsors several programs, including the Strive for a Safer Drive initiative, which provides funding for schools to develop safe driving campaigns and educational programs.

Other organizations, such as the Michigan Association of Police Chiefs, also work to promote safe teen driving through outreach and education campaigns.

School-Based Programs and Driver Education Courses for Teenagers

School-based driver education programs and courses are an effective way to teach teens about safe driving practices. In Michigan, driver education is a mandatory component of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system.

This system requires young drivers to complete a certain number of hours of supervised driving, pass a written test, and show proficiency in a driving skills test before obtaining a full driver’s license.

Parental Involvement in Promoting Safe Teen Driving Behaviors

Parental involvement is also critical in promoting safe driving among teenagers. In Michigan, parents are required to attend a parent-teen driver safety meeting before their teen can obtain a level 2 or level 3 GDL license. These meetings provide parents with information on the dangers of distracted driving, the importance of wearing seat belts, and other safe driving practices.

Parents can play an active role in helping their teens develop good driving habits by modeling safe driving behaviors, setting driving rules and expectations, and monitoring their teen’s driving behaviors.

Who is Responsible if a Teen Driver in Michigan Injuries You?

If you are hurt in a car crash caused by a teen driver in Michigan, the legal consequences typically fall on the teenager’s parents. Like any other driver, teen drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road and exercise reasonable caution while driving, regardless of their experience level. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities may result in liability for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

In most cases, a teen driver under 18 is operating a family car owned by their parents and covered by their parent’s insurance policy, making the parents liable under two Michigan laws.

Generally, Michigan holds car owners responsible for damages if the car involved is being driven with their consent. Under the theory of negligent entrustment, a parent may be liable if they knew or should have known that their teen posed a danger to other road users. For example, if the teen has been in multiple accidents or received a ticket for reckless driving.

The theory of vicarious liability holds the parent liable if the accident occurred while the teen acted under the parent’s authority and direction. For example, the parent asked the teen to drive the car to the store or pick up their sibling.

Michigan also has a law that holds adults liable for accidents if they serve alcohol to teens. This is known as social host liability and means that if an adult provides alcohol to a teen who causes a car accident, the adult can be held responsible for any resulting damages.

While all vehicles in Michigan are required to have PIP insurance, these coverages only cover medical expenses and lost wages for the driver. If a teen driver accident victim has their own PIP coverage, they may be able to file a claim under their own policy.

However, if the victim’s injuries exceed the PIP coverage limit, they may need to file a third-party claim for serious threshold damages. This claim may be filed against the insurance company of the teen driver or their parents if the teen is under 18.

Teen Driving Statistics

If you are a victim of a teen motor crash, it is essential to seek legal help from an experienced attorney. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we can help you navigate the legal process and recover compensation for your damages.

Our attorneys will investigate the circumstances of your crash to determine who may be held liable for your injuries and help you file a claim to receive a settlement. We can also help you gather evidence to support your case, prove teen driver negligence, and represent you in court if necessary.

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

As teenagers begin to explore the world of driving, it is crucial to prioritize safety on the road. Good driving habits can help reduce the risk of accidents and promote responsible behavior behind the wheel. The following safe driving tips can ensure teenage drivers navigate the roadways confidently and cautiously.

  • Buckle up for safety: Wearing your seatbelt is not only the law but also essential to your and your passengers’ safety. It protects you in case of a collision and can reduce the risk of injury or save your life.
  • Minimize distractions: Distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the stereo can take your focus off the road. Keep your attention fully on driving by putting away electronic devices and avoiding any activities that divert your attention.
  • Observe speed limits: Adhering to speed limits is essential for maintaining control of your vehicle and reacting to unexpected situations. Speeding increases the chances of accidents and reduces the time you have to react to potential hazards.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Leaving a sufficient gap between your vehicle and the one in front of you allows for proper reaction time. As a general rule, maintain a three-second following distance to provide ample time to respond to sudden stops or emergencies.
  • Avoid aggressive driving: Aggressive behaviors like tailgating, excessive speeding, or weaving through traffic can lead to dangerous situations. Stay calm, patient, and respectful on the road, ensuring the safety of both yourself and others.
  • Limit nighttime driving: Nighttime driving poses additional challenges due to reduced visibility. New drivers should limit driving during late hours until they gain more experience and feel comfortable navigating in low-light conditions.
    Teens with a level 2 license in Michigan cannot drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are traveling to or from work, an authorized activity such as a school event, sporting activity, or religious event. The exception also applies if they are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or parent-approved licensed driver over 21.
  • Never drive under the influence: Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. Always designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation if you are impaired.

Contact Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. to Discuss Your Accident Claim

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by a teen driver, you may not know what action to take. Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can provide experienced legal representation and guidance. Our attorneys can help you navigate the legal process after a crash to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Lynn Mayfield is a writer and has worked in finance and education. Lynn earned her Master's Degree in Education and now writes informative articles for various legal organizations. She enjoys drinking coffee and spending time outdoors.

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