Teen Driving Risk Awareness

Sixteen- and 17-year-old drivers have the highest crash rates of any age group. Crash rates are highest during the first six months of licensure without supervision. The major reason for crashes among newly licensed drivers is the failure to search effectively for potential risks. The most critical time for parents to be involved with young drivers is during the first six months of unsupervised driving.

Our culture tends to view teens as young adults when, neurologically, they are only large children. The area of the brain that regulates logic and reasoning develops before the area that controls impulse and emotion. Young drivers often do not have the full capacity to control impulses. As a result, adults need to provide guidance, oversight and set limits.

Inexperience and immaturity combine to make young drivers especially at-risk in five circumstances:

  1. At night: Driving is more difficult and dangerous at night for everyone, but particularly for teenagers. Young drivers have less experience driving at night than during the day, and drowsiness and alcohol may be more of a factor at night.
  2. After drinking alcohol: Young drivers' inexperience with both driving and drinking means that they have a higher crash risk at all bodily alcohol content levels than older drivers.
  3. With passengers: Teenage passengers can distract young drivers and encourage them to take risks.
  4. When unbelted: Seat belts reduce the risk of injury or fatality in a crash, but teenage drivers and passengers have lower belt use rates than older drivers and passengers.
  5. When using cell phones: All drivers are at higher risk when talking or texting; however, young drivers use cell phones more frequently than older drivers and have more difficulty handling distractions.

-Countermeasures That Work, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2017

Youth Traffic Safety Statistics - NHTSA:

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens in the U.S.

Nationally in 2018, 2,121 people were killed in crashes involving a 15 to 18 year-old driver.

Nationally in 2018, 237 15 to 19 year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted.

Michigan Traffic Crash Facts

Teens/Young Adults Age 15-20 - 2020 Michigan Traffic Crash Facts PDF icon

See www.Michigantrafficcrashfacts.org for more Michigan crash facts.

Segment 2 Driver Education - Risk Awareness

The Segment 2 driver education curriculum objectives are centered on risk awareness (including distractions and aggressive driving); avoiding alcohol-involved driving; and driver and vehicle actions. The Segment 2 Driver Education Risk Awareness materials are used by driver education programs to teach teens about these driving risks.

You Are At Risk (SOS-213)