Five Leading Causes of Fatal Teen Car Accidents

bicycle and car crash

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of teen deaths in the United States. In fact, statistics show that car accidents kill an average of six teens every day. While young drivers are excited to get behind the wheel and gain some independence, they may not be ready to shoulder such a big responsibility.

Why are car accidents so deadly for teens? Here are 5 of the leading causes of fatal teen car accidents.

Texting and Driving

Cell phones and mobile electronic devices are becoming fixtures in your everyday lives. In fact, it’s hard to look around and not see someone with their eyes glued to a screen. Everyone is constantly texting, taking selfies, and checking the latest posts on social media. Unfortunately, teen drivers are not putting their mobile devices down when they get behind the wheel.

A recent study found that nearly all teen drivers understand that texting and driving is dangerous. However, more than one-third of all teens surveyed admitted to this risky behavior. This risky behavior is often a contributing factor in fatal teen car accidents. Approximately 21 percent of all teen drivers killed in accidents are distracted by their phones at the time of their fatal crash.

Driving With Passengers

Texting is not the only way for teen drivers to become distracted behind the wheel. Studies have shown that teen drivers are more likely to break the law and get into accidents when they have multiple passengers in the car. In fact, simply having one other teen passenger in the vehicle doubles the risk of a fatal crash. When there are two or more teens in the car, the risk of a fatal accident is five times more likely.

Teens are new drivers and need to focus all of their attention on the road. Even though they may have a license to operate a car, they still lack the practical experience that is necessary to stay safe. Until teen drivers can gain the skills and insight necessary to navigate tough traffic, weather, and road conditions, passengers should be kept to a minimum. California state law attempts to keep teens safe by restricting driving privileges. One such restriction specifically addresses who teens can drive, and when. Obeying these regulations and restrictions will help to keep teen drivers safe.

Drunk Driving

Teens with newfound independence from their parents and/or guardians are more likely to try experiment and try new things. Alcohol is likely at the top of the list. Unfortunately, teens are still growing and often unable to metabolize alcohol well. Many teens do not know their limits or how alcohol will affect their ability to navigate a car safely.

Unfortunately, research shows that any amount of alcohol will increase the likelihood of a teen being involved in an accident. Young males between the ages of 15 and 20 tend to be the most likely to be fatally injured in a drunk driving accident. In 2015, 22% of accidents involving these young men involved alcohol.


There’s nothing like hitting the open road and feeling freedom behind the wheel. Since San Diego roads are built to accommodate speed, it is incredibly easy for teen drivers to take advantage of a fast car. Unfortunately, these young drivers do not yet have the skills necessary to expertly navigate a car at high speeds.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed was a causal factor in approximately 35 percent of fatal teen accidents in 2015 involving young men. Put another way, one in three fatal teen car accidents could potentially be avoided if the teen obeyed the speed limit.

No Seat Belts

Despite the fact that California law requires all passengers to wear a seat belt, many teens fail to buckle up before putting the car in drive. In fact, only about 60 percent of teens surveyed in a recent study said that they regularly wear a seat belt. When teens are under the influence of alcohol, the chances of them wearing a seat belt are even less. In 2015, 60 percent of teens killed in self-caused drunk driving accidents were not buckled up at the time of their crash.

Has Your Teen Been Injured in a Car Accident?

Do you have a teen who was recently injured in a San Diego car accident? Contact Injury Trial Lawyers, APC for help understanding your legal rights and obligations. We can help to protect you and your family while also pursuing any compensation to which you may be entitled. Call us today to learn more and schedule your free consultation.

Injury Trial Lawyers, APC
1230 Columbia Street Suite 560
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 525-7007