Teen Driving Risk Factors
Nearly half of all teen deaths in the United States are due to accidental injuries, and 73% of those
are due to automobile accidents1
. We don’t want your teen to join that statistic. That’s why, at National
General Insurance, we want to educate you about the risks teens are facing behind the wheel. Knowing these
risk factors will help you, as parents, to set guidelines for your teens as they start to drive on their own.
Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is the ultimate distraction. It distracts visually, physically
(hands off the wheel), and mentally from the road. As a result, those who text and drive
are 23 times likelier to get into an accident2. Unfortunately, even though
it’s dangerous and many states have banned texting and driving, teens will often ignore the ban.
As a parent, it may be a good idea to make a “no-cell-phone-while-driving” rule with your teen
driver to promote safer driving practices. If you catch them texting while driving, you could
restrict driving privileges to help enforce the lesson.
In 2016 alone, more than 10,000 people died and an estimated 290,000 were injured due to drunk driving
. It is a very real threat, especially to teens. One in 10 teens in high school
drinks and drives4
. If your teen decides to get drunk, he or she will be 17 times
to die in a crash4
. Please talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving. Also
encourage your teen not to get in the car with anyone who has been drinking. Learn how to spot impaired
The chance of teenage drivers dying in a crash increases with every additional teenage passenger in
the car5. Other teens can be a distraction or can encourage risky driving behavior such as reckless
driving, drunk driving or other unsafe activities. Limit the number of teen passengers your teen can
have to zero or one, at least for the first six months on the road.
Speeding increases the risk of an accident. Lack of driving experience reduces reaction time. When
you combine these two factors, it can be a deadly combination. Indeed, speeding was a factor in
about 31% of all traffic fatalities from 2005 to 2014, according to a study done by the National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)6. Speed matters. Encourage your teen to drive the
A lack of sleep is a common problem for teens. As a result, teens have a high risk of drowsy driving.
This is especially true for young men. Teen drivers are twice as likely to have a crash if they
experience sleepiness while driving or reported having bad sleep7. Helping your teen get
a good night’s sleep will protect him or her on the road.
Because teens are new drivers and lack driving experience, they may not respond well in bad weather.
Wet roads, limited visibility, black ice and high winds can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Although it is best to avoid these conditions all together, it is critical that teen drivers receive
instruction on how to drive in inclement weather before they experience it firsthand. Let your teen
know how to drive on ice and in the rain before it happens.
Time of Day
In 2015, 48% of car crashes that resulted in teen deaths happened between the hours of 3 p.m. and
midnight, and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday8. If you limit night driving with
a curfew, you could protect your teen from undue risk.
Failure to Use a Seatbelt
Make sure your teen wears his or her seatbelt. Tell your teen not to start driving until everyone in
the vehicle has on a seatbelt. In 2016 alone, seat belt use saved an estimated 14,668 lives9. It could be a life-saving decision.
Inexperienced drivers may be anxious about a particular intersection or activity, such as merging
onto the highway. In these cases, the more often you guide your teen through these scenarios, the
less stressful it will be when your teen drives through these alone.
or call us
Is your teen ready to drive? Do you have questions about auto insurance for your teen? See how you can save on your premiums
and keep your teen safe on the road.
The first six months of driving unsupervised are critical for your teen. Share these teen driving
tips from National General Insurance that will help keep your high schooler safe on the road.
Miniño AM. Mortality among teenagers aged 12-19 years: United States, 1999-2006. NCHS data brief,
no 37. Hyattsville, MD: National Center
for Health Statistics. 2010.
Olson, R.L., R.J. Hanowski, J.S. Hickman, and J. Bocanegra. 2009. Driver Distraction in Commercial
Vehicle Operation. Center for Truck and Bus Safety.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Blacksburg, VA.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2016: Alcohol-Impaired Driving.”
Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2017.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2012). Teen Drinking and Driving.
Simon, R. (2012). Los Angeles Times. “Teen drivers who travel with friends at higher risk for fatal crash.”
Walker, A. (2017) Curbed. “U.S. traffic death increase caused by speeding, says new study.”
Pizza, F., Contardi, S. Baldi Antognini, A. Zagoraiou, M, Borrotti, M., et al. (2010). Journal of
Clinical Sleep Medicine. “Sleep Quality and Motor Vehicle Crashes in Adolescents.”
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “Fatality Facts: Teenagers 2015.”
National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2017).