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Study Reveals The Most Common Causes of Teen Car Accidents

teen holds a phone and records a video while driving down a winding road.

Speeding and texting while driving are the most common factors.

Car accidents caused by some teenage drivers often occur for two main reasons – speeding and using a cellphone, especially texting while driving, according to a recent traffic safety study.

"Our data gives us another insight into teen driving behaviors," Catherine McDonald, co-director of the PENN Injury Science Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the lead researcher for the recent study, said in a statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, where the study was presented at its national conference.

Knowing what to do after a collision caused by another driver, regardless of their age, can be confusing. Our experienced New Hampshire car accident attorneys at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A., know because we have dedicated our careers to helping injury victims deal with such complicated legal cases.

Breaking down the study

The recent PENN Injury Science Center found that 40 percent of the teen drivers who participated in the study drove over the speed limit. Similar findings from a more extensive GHSA study found that some young drivers cause car accidents when they drive at reckless speeds. Specifically, speeding was a factor in 43 percent of fatal car accidents involving drivers 16 to 19 years old compared to 30 percent of deadly collisions involving older drivers from all other age groups.

Along with speeding, the study found some young drivers have cellphones in their hands while they're driving, whether it's texting, checking email, or other driver distractions.

Specifically, the study found that 30 percent of teen drivers were holding their cell phones while driving. In addition, 5 percent of young drivers who participated in the survey were simultaneously speeding and using their cell phones.

How some teens cause crashes

According to a Teen Driver Fact Sheet compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dangerous driving habits that often contribute to crashes caused by teen drivers include:

  • Inexperience – Some teen drivers lack the experience to fully understand just how dangerous certain situations can be and end up underestimating the risks they face on the road, resulting in a collision.
  • Drinking and driving – Even though teenagers cannot legally consume alcohol, that doesn't stop some from doing it anyway. On average, 24 percent of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal collisions had been drinking before the accident.
  • Nighttime driving – Statistics show that teenage drivers are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal car crash when driving at night.
  • Weekend driving – Along with nighttime driving, weekend driving is the riskiest time for young drivers to be on the road. More than 40 percent of car accident fatalities involving teen drivers occur on weekends.

Another common contributing factor in car accidents involving young drivers is other teens in the same car. If two or more teenagers are in the same car as a teen driver, they are three times more likely to be involved in a collision, according to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) study.

However, it's worth noting that not all teen drivers are reckless drivers. While studies like the one mentioned above provide insight into how some teen drivers cause crashes, it's important to remember that negligent driving doesn't have an age limit. Whether a teen driver hit you or you are the parent of a teen involved in a crash that wasn't their fault, an attorney can help you find the facts that matter and advocate for your best interests.

Contact a New Hampshire car accident attorney.

At Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A., we know how to investigate collisions, negotiate with insurance companies, and take legal action, if necessary, on behalf of injury victims. After you've been injured in an accident, you often only have one opportunity to obtain the compensation you deserve for your losses. Make it count. Contact our law firm and put your legal case in the hands of our highly skilled attorneys. We have offices conveniently located in Dover and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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