What are the primary causes of teenage car accidents?

Regardless of how old they are, we are all protective of our kids. When they become teenagers and get a driver’s license, we trust that we’ve taught them everything they need to know to stay safe.

However, car accidents are the second leading cause of death for teenagers. And a lot of the time is not their fault. We are going to delve into the primary causes of car collisions for teenagers.


Any new driver, no matter their age, deals with inexperience. Sometimes it takes drivers years to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. Critical decision errors and overcorrection lead to car accidents every day, even in those with years of experience under their belts.

Nighttime, Weekend, and Holiday Driving

Driving busy roads and highways at night comes with its own set of dangers. In 2019, 40% of car accident fatalities involving teenagers happened between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am. Over half happened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Holidays add to those dangers because of the number of people that are traveling the same roads.

Seat Belt Usage

Half of all fatal vehicle accidents involving 16 to 19-year-olds involved those not wearing seat belts. It includes passengers, too.

In 2020, the seat belt use rate was 90.3%. And teenagers and young adults make up a large chunk of that 10%. But, that 10% gap means we all have to do our part. Seat belts save lives.

Distracted Driving

Even the best drivers should never do so while distracted. It means no texting, emailing, taking pictures, updating social media, or even listening to loud music while driving. It is hard to ignore our cellphones and to not crank the music up on full blast. But good habits like putting a phone on silent go a long way to making everyone safe on the road.


Going faster does not mean you will get somewhere any quicker, and sometimes, not at all. Teenage males are more apt to speed, but it is a problem with young adult drivers as a whole. What makes it worse is that it is avoidable.

Alcohol and Drug Use

The legal drinking age is 21, but it doesn’t stop a teen that wants to drink. When you add inexperience to the mix, it is a dangerous and deadly decision. It is alarming that 16.7% of teenagers admit to riding with a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

At the same time, others that drink and drive are a danger to everyone else on the road. Young adults do not have the experience to notice and react to situations, and another drunk driver can cause a car accident fatality.

Drowsy Driving

It is hard to slow teenagers down in life, even when they’re exhausted. But, if they get behind the wheel tired, an already short reaction time gets even shorter, and the threat of falling asleep at the wheel becomes a real danger.

Preventing Teenage Car Accidents

Carving out a little time to discuss the causes of car accidents with your teenager goes a long way towards them remembering how to stay safe. Let them know about the laws of the road, including seat belt laws and speed limits. It helps to explain that breaking those laws means more than a ticket, sometimes. It can mean injury or death, too.

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems are in place to help slowly guide your teen into driving and what their responsibility is. It helps curb the inexperience and provides them with a starting skillset.  Each state goes about it differently, but it has proven to reduce car accidents involving teenagers.

Car accidents involving teenagers are not always the teenager’s fault, either. For example, in the case of a drunk or careless driver, you have the right to seek compensation and justice. No charge consultations help advise you of your rights and the rights of your teen. Medical bills and car repairs can get out of hand quickly.

You can depend on Montoya Hinckley to give you the facts and help you through the stress of having your child involved in a car accident.