This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 15-21), and according to AAA, car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens across the country.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,972 teen passenger-vehicle drivers (15 to 18 years old) were involved in fatal crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths, in the year 2015. An estimated 99,000 teen drivers were injured in crashes in 2015.
Looking for the cause of those crashes? In 2015, nearly 20 percent of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash had been drinking.
Distracted driving is also a major cause of fatal and non-fatal teen collisions. In 2015, there were 272 teens killed in distracted-affected crashes. That’s 11 percent of all teen motor vehicle crash fatalities.
Teen Drivers In Washington State
Here are the 2016 teen driver accident statistics for Washington State:
- Fatal crashes: 48
- Suspected serious injury accidents: 226
- Possible/suspected injury collisions: 5,356
- No apparant injury incidents: 12,407
- Total teen motor vehicle driver-involved crashes: 18,037
In 2012, there were 20,628 motor vehicle accidents in Washington State involving at least one driver that was under the age of 21-years-old. That number represents 12 percent of the total 176,059 accidents for that year in the Evergreen State. Of the 20,628 accidents involving a teen, 8 percent involved a fatality, 11 percent involved a serious injury, 11 percent involved a minor injury, 12 percent were considered non-injury accidents, and 7 percent were unclassified.
Here are some additional teen driving statistics from a report by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Traffic Research & Data Center:
- Males age 16-25 accounted for more than half of all deaths involving young drivers (597 of 1,142; 52.3%).
- The Top 5 counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish, Yakima and Spokane Counties) represent half (581 of 1,142; 50.9%) of all deaths involving a young driver in Washington.
- Half (563 of 1,142; 49.3%) of all deaths involving young drivers occurred during the weekend, between 6 p.m. Friday and 5:59 a.m. Monday.
- Over half of deaths involving a young driver were in rural areas (648 of 1,142; 56.7%). Combining rural and urban roadways, county roads accounted for 37.3% (426 of 1,142) of all young driver involved deaths.
Safety Tips For Teen Drivers
- Avoid distractions: Parents should stress to their kids the importance of keeping their eyes on the road and avoiding distractions. That includes passengers, cell phones, radio and GPS.
- Practice makes perfect: The only cure for inexperience is practice. It’s always a good idea for parents to ride along with their kids in a variety of conditions and situations.
- Follow the law: Passing a driving test doesn’t mean a teen driver knows all the laws. Inexperienced drivers need all the tips they can get.
- Buckle up: More than one-third (35.2%) of young male passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were not using a seat belt compared to 15.9% of young female drivers.
- Be prepared for honesty: Teenagers aren’t always equipped to make perfect choices. The best thing that you as a parent can do is tell your teen that if they’re nervous or uncertain about driving, you’ll be there for them.
Looking For More Information On Teen Drivers?
As a parent himself, Attorney Chris Davis of Davis Law Group, P.S., knows that the teenage years are stressful enough without additional worries about what parents might be responsible for if a teenager gets into an accident while driving the family car. Mr. Davis is the author of the booklet "Teen Drivers & The Law: What Every Parent in Washington State Needs To Know About Parental Legal and Financial Liability For Auto Collisions Caused By Teen Drivers."
The booklet covers common questions about how insurance works when a teenager is driving the family car, whether parents are financially liable for damage caused by a teenager, special laws and restrictions that apply to minors in Washington State, and other legal considerations that parents need to know.
Individual booklets are available for parents of teenagers in Washington State. To order your free booklet, go to our order page for parents. These booklets are completely free through Davis Law Group’s Washington Accident Books™ program; parents do not have to pay for anything.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident in Washington State, Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule your free legal consultation.