AAA Study Finds Crashes Involving Teen Drivers Likely to Kill or Injure Occupants of Other Vehicles, Passengers, Cyclists and Pedestrians


Over the last 20 years, Rhode Island and other states have made a big push toward improving the safety of teen driving. Extended driver education programs, tougher licensing requirements and increased minimum ages for full licensing have been implemented nationwide. But have these changes made a difference?

Although the number of teen drivers who have died in car crashes has plummeted over the past couple of decades, teens still rack up more car crashes per driver and per mile than any other age group, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Many of the victims of teen driving accidents are not the teenagers themselves, according to the AAA study. Between 1994 and 2013, thirty nine (39%) percent of people who died in accidents involving a teen driver were occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians – victims who were not in the teen driver’s vehicle. Another twenty seven (27%) percent of the fatalities in accidents involving teen drivers were passengers in the teen’s vehicle. Teen drivers themselves accounted for thirty four (34%) percent of the deaths.

When it comes to injuries in accidents involving teen drivers, nearly half the victims were occupants of other vehicles. Passengers in the teen’s vehicle made up seventeen (17%) percent of those injured, while pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for two ( 2%) percent of injury victims. One-third (⅓) of the injuries were sustained by the teen drivers themselves.

What does this mean in real numbers? Consider the study’s data:

  • 891,000 drivers ages 15 to 19 were involved in a car accident in 2013.
  • About 263,000 of these crashes injured one or more people.
  • 2,614 accidents caused at least one death.
  • Thus, in a single year, teen drivers caused approximately 86,790 injuries and 862 deaths to people outside their own vehicles. That’s an average of 237 injuries and 2 deaths per day

The AAA study notes these numbers are lower than they were 20 years ago. Researchers estimate the number of injuries caused in accidents involving teen drivers has dropped by fifty one (51%) percent in the past two decades. Nonetheless, more work must be done.

Whenever teens get behind the wheel, they must share the road safely with other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Here are some quick tips for reducing a teen driver’s crash risk:

  • Take a strong stand against distractions. Create a strict no-cellphone-while-driving rule, and limit the number of passengers a teen can transport without an adult in the car.
  • Practice nighttime and bad-weather driving. Many teens crash due to lack of experience, especially after dark or in harsh weather conditions. More practice can help prevent a crash.
  • Model safe driving. Teens learn to drive not only by driving under their parents’ supervision, but by watching their parents drive. Modeling safe, distraction-free driving can help teens learn safer habits.

If you are injured in a crash caused by the negligence of a teen driver – or a driver of any age – you will likely face medical bills, lost wages and other losses that could potentially be recovered through an auto accident lawsuit.

Your Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to car accident victims and their families. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.