Are Teenage Drivers at Higher Risk of Crashing?

Car Accidents,Personal Injury • March 30, 2024

When it comes to the likelihood of being involved in a motor vehicle crash, teenage drivers aged 16 to19 are particularly at risk. This age group leads all others with a significantly higher propensity for such accidents: their rate of fatal crashes is almost three times as high compared to drivers who are 20 and older. If you experience a collision with a young driver, a car accident lawyer in Jersey City may be able to help.

The Tragic Outcomes of Teen Driving

In 2020, the United States faced a sobering statistic involving teenage drivers: approximately 2,800 individuals between the ages of 13 to 19 lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents while around 227,000 sustained injuries.

On average, there were 8 teen deaths and many injuries each day. The financial impact of these incidents was staggering as well – crash-related medical expenses for treatment combined with estimated costs attributed to the loss of young lives amounted to roughly $40.7 billion.

The gender disparity in crash statistics is notable among teenage drivers. Specifically, for male teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, the motor vehicle crash death rate was three times as high as it was for their female counterparts in 2020.

These devastating figures highlight an urgent need for effective strategies to improve teen driver safety and reduce the economic and emotional impact of motor vehicle crashes on our communities.

Risk Factors That Lead to Teen Driving Accidents

When discussing risk factors for driving accidents among teenagers, a combination of developmental and behavioral issues is often at the core. Here’s an overview of critical factors contributing to the high crash rate among this demographic:


Teenage drivers generally lack driving experience, which makes them less adept than more seasoned motorists at recognizing or responding effectively to hazardous conditions on the road. They are prone to misjudging risky situations and committing critical driving errors that can result in severe accidents.

Nighttime and Weekend Driving

For all ages, nighttime poses additional hazards when driving due to reduced visibility and a higher likelihood of impaired drivers on the road.

However, these dangers are exacerbated for teen drivers, whose fatal crash rates skyrocket at night. Teens aged 16 to 19 have around three times more deaths from nighttime crashes as adults between the ages of 30 and 59.

In 2020, almost half (44%) of teen motor vehicle fatalities occurred between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am and about half about half were on weekends.

Teens Driving with Teen or Young Adult Passengers

Safety concerns further escalate when teen drivers have peers as passengers without adult supervision. The risk of a crash increases incrementally with each additional teenage or young adult passenger in the vehicle.

The presence of friends can lead to distractions, encouraging risky driving behaviors. It can also lead to pressure for the driver to show off, which could increase the chances of an accident.

Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is a significant risk factor for motor vehicle crashes, particularly among teenage drivers. Not only is it illegal for teens to drink alcohol due to the minimum legal drinking age, but even small amounts can severely impair driving ability and increase crash risks.

Studies indicate that compared to older drivers, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision when they have any amount of alcohol in their system, even if it’s under the legal limit for adults.

Ultimately, teen drivers face a multitude of risk factors that contribute to higher crash rates. If you or someone you know has been affected by an accident involving a teenage driver, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your next steps.