Almost 4,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 20 died in car crashes last year.  Most of these teens were good kids with high hopes for the future.  But their lives ended before they could begin their adult lives.  Why do MO teen driving accidents occur?
Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, have tried to answer this question.  The researchers looked at data collected by the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study.  This Congressionally-mandated research project compiled data from 7,000 serious traffic accidents across the United States from 2005 through 2007 in order to understand what causes crashes and how they can be prevented.  The Texas team searched the database for accidents involving drivers ages 16 to 20. 
Some of the results may surprise you:

1. Vehicles matter.  A teenager driving a pickup truck is twice as likely to be involved in a serious accident as a teenager driving a sedan, van or SUV. Researchers believe pick-up truck drivers tend to be more aggressive.
2. Passengers increase the risk of a teen driving accident, but more passengers are better than one passenger. A teen driver with one young passenger is more likely to be involved in a major accident than a teenager driving with two or even three teenage passengers. The scientists postulated that teens are less likely to interact with the driver if someone else is in the car.
3. Mornings are dangerous. A teenager is more likely to become an accident victim while driving to school during morning rush hour than at any other time of the day.
4. Nineteen-year-olds are safer drivers than 16-year-olds.  A 16-to-17-year-old driver is almost twice as likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors as an 18-year-old or 19-year-old driver.
5. Experience counts.  The crash rate for 16-year-olds is 34.5 crashes per million miles. Significantly more than the crash rate for older teens.

    Crash rate for 16-year-olds: 34.5 crashes per million miles
    Crash rate for 17-year-olds: 20.2 crashes per million miles
  • Crash rate for 18-year-olds: 13.8 crashes per million miles
  • Crash rate for 20-year-olds: 7.8 crashes per million miles

To learn more about teen driving safety, read our articles: "Distracted Driving is the Leading Cause of Teen Death" and "Is Your Teen Driving? A Warrensburg, MO Auto Accident Lawyer Suggests A Teen Driving Contract."

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.