Since the day your child was born, you have probably felt apprehensive about the day they start driving. You have probably daydreamed about buying them a large, slow, tank with warning lights and bells that are installed not only to monitor your teen's driving, but to warn other drivers that a teen driver is on the road. Unfortunately, statistics on teens and driving bear out your concern. Teen drivers are a very real liability for everyone who shares the roadways.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens in the United States. These accidents are responsible for 33 percent of deaths for drivers ages 16 to 19. The CDC reports that drivers in this age category are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other age category of drivers. Statistics gathered in 2008 indicate that as many as nine teenagers per day will be involved in a fatal auto accident. Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 16-year-old drivers are six times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers ages 30 to 59, and the crash rate per mile for 16-year-olds is two times higher than it is even for drivers ages 18 to 19. In 2008, 3,500 teens lost their lives due to a fatal auto accident.
These statistics, while frightening in their own right, also go a long way to explain skyrocketing car insurance premiums for teen drivers - and parental fears about hearing how much their teen's car insurance quote will set them back. Teen males in particular have earned their reputation as the most dangerous drivers on the road, and the most expensive when it comes to teen driver insurance. Males ages 16 to 19 are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal automobile crash as their female counterparts. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Studies reports that three out of every four teens of driving age have consumed alcohol, with young males being more likely to abuse alcohol. This bears out CDC statistics that 26 percent of males involved in fatal collisions had been drinking before they drove.
What is most frightening, however, may be the lack of knowledge teens carry with them about the risks of getting behind the wheel. Three out of every eight teens report that they have been in the car with a teen driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Three quarters of teens killed in an auto accident while under the influence were not wearing their seatbelt. Clearly, the best offense against the dangers of teen drivers is the defense of education.