Teen Driving: Statistics and Laws

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October 7, 2016 | Auto Accidents |


Think about the first time your parents handed over the keys to the car; it was a great milestone filled with independence and excitement. You probably didn’t stop to think about fellow teen driving statistics before you hopped in the car. However, it’s more important than ever for parents to not only know the facts but also to educate their teen drivers before they hit the road.

Teen Car Accident Statistics

Of any age group, teen drivers have the highest crash rate in all of the United States. Research found that 936,00 drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were involved in car accidents in 2013. Those accidents resulted in 383,00 injuries and 2,865 fatalities.

A 2015 teen car accident study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) discovered that the leading cause of car accidents among teen drivers is due to distracted driving. In fact, 6 out of 10 teen accidents can be blamed on distractions:

  • Interacting with other passengers was the cause of 15% of teen car accidents
  • Using a cell phone was the cause of 12% of teen car accidents
  • Looking at something inside the car caused 10% of teen car accidents
  • Looking at something outside of the vehicle caused 9% of teen car accidents
  • Singing and/or dancing while listening to music caused 8% of teen car accidents
  • Grooming caused 6% of teen car accidents
  • Reaching for an object inside the car caused 6% of teen car accidents

Saying that driving with a friend, having a cell phone, and looking around the car while driving is common is an understatement; most everyone does those things at some point. Knowing how to manage those distractions might come with more behind-the-wheel experience.

With that said, another leading cause of teen driving accidents are due to inexperience. For example, a new driver is unable to refer to past situations where they handled distractions more efficiently, or, due to inexperience, they underestimate dangerous situations.

Teen Driving Laws in Indiana

Let’s face it: Distractions are impossible to avoid while driving—no matter how old the driver. Several states have taken note of the devastating teen driver accidents, injuries, and fatalities and have attempted to make a difference.

Compared to some states, the Indiana Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program is a more interactive and complex one. The goal is to reduce accident fatalities and give teen drivers more preparation and experience. GDL programs in Indiana have a three step process:

  1. A combination of in-class and behind-the-wheel training performed simultaneously—not in separate segments
  2. More hours of driving experience spread across each season to give teen drivers weather-related experience and expectations
  3. Granting of a drivers license is based on skill, experience, and performance instead of completing a certain amount of driving time

In addition, in the summer of 2009, Indiana changed its GDL laws: If drivers are granted a license at 16 or 17 years old, their license is under a probationary period until they turn 18. And finally, in 2011, Indiana added on more driving time as a requirement for obtaining a license as well as increased parent or guardian participation while teens are learning to drive.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

Sadly, despite education and awareness, the worst can still happen. Complications from a fatal or serious crash can last a lifetime, but if there’s any sort of relief, why not seek it?

If your teen was involved in a car crash, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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