Car Accidents Caused By Teen Drivers

Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by New Drivers in Washington State 

In 10 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver in 2016, the teen driver was distracted at the time of the crash. In 2016, there were 2,288 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in crashes that involved passenger vehicle teen drivers aged 15 to 18 years old.

About 35 percent of young drivers are driving recklessly and/or speeding at the time of the collision.  ​It is estimated that on average, for every driver age 15 to 17 killed in a crash, there are nearly two other people who are killed in the accident  Car accidents remain the number one cause of death of people 16 to 20 years old.  

What Are The Causes of Teen Driver Automobile Crashes?

  • Inexperience: Teens are more likely to underestimate the amount of time required to safety stop or make a turn.  And teens are less likely to recognize dangerous driving conditions. The first 500 miles for your teenage drivers are the most critical. During this time, they are 10 times more likely to be in auto crashes than adult drivers.
  • Immaturity: When I was a teenage driver I was very impatient and juvenile. I would constantly switch driving lanes, race other drivers, and speed up to 100 mph trying to beat a red light.
  • Distraction: 32.8% of high school students nationwide have texted or e-mailed while driving. 56% of teens admit to talking on cell phones while driving. Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident and can slow a young driver's reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.
  • Speeding: Nearly one third of all fatal teen car crashes involve speeding. Whatever the reason, speeding is a dangerous habit among teenage drivers and significantly increases their risk of being in an accident.
  • Friends: Having other teen passengers in the car has been shown to increase the likelihood of high risk driving behaviors among teenage drivers.
  • Impaired: About 1/4 of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving.

What Are The Legal Rights Young Driver Accident Victims?

Because of the unique liability and insurance (typically a parent is the insurance policy holder) issues related to car accidents caused by teenagers, victims of the following types of incidents would be well advised to discuss their legal options with an attorney to make sure that they are fairly compensated for injuries, harms and losses. 

  • Adults injured in a car accident caused by teenaged driver
  • Family members of those killed in fatal accidents (vehicle, pedestrian, motorcycle) caused by a teen.
  • Teen injured while they are passengers in a vehicle driven by another teen driver.  
  • Parents of a teen that was killed in an accident caused by a teenaged driver.  
  • Pedestrians that were struck and injured by a teen.
  • Motorcyclists that were injured in a collision involving a teenager.

How Often Are Washington State Teen's In Car Accidents?

  • Drivers ages 16 and 17 are nearly 9 times more likely to have an accident than middle-aged drivers.
  • 61% of teenagers admit to risky driving habits.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens.

2016 Teen Driver Accident Statistics - Washington State

  • Fatal Crashes - 48
  • Suspected Serious Injury Accidents - 226
  • Possible/Suspected Injury Collisions - 5,356
  • No Apparant Injury Incidents - 12,407
  • Total Teen MV Driver Involved Crashes - 18,037

2016 Distracted Teen Driver Accident Statistics - Washington State

  • Fatal Crashes - 9
  • Suspected Serious Injury Accidents - 28
  • Possible/Suspected Injury Collisions - 493
  • No Apparent Injury Incidents - 936
  • Total Distracted Teen Driver Involved Crashes - 1,466

Teen Driver Liability: What If The Teen Was Not At-Fault?

Insurance companies will often automatically place some percentage of blame on the teen, even if the teen was not at fault (because teens so often are at fault). Teens who were injured in a crash should contact an attorney to protect their legal rights and to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.

Are Parents Financially Responsible For Accidents Caused By Their Children?


If you're a parent, you know the worry that comes with having a teen driver. If you're a teenager, you've probably heard lectures about the privilege and responsibility of operating a motor vehicle. If you the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver then you know the frustration that comes with knowing that the collision was caused by an inexperienced driver.

Parents (and parents' insurance) can be held responsible for compensating people injured by their child. The circumstances of the child's acts determine the existence and degree of parental liability. Each case is a unique situation involving various types of negligent or willful acts of children. In civil matters, the most common negligent acts of minors are in car accidents. 

Some people are reluctant to file an insurance claim, hire an attorney, or engage in a legal action out of concern for the parents of the teen driver.  Auto insurance compensation (settlements, awards, etc.) options are available without necessarily financially damaging the parents of the teen’s parents. 

To learn more about parental liability for accidents caused by teen drivers get our free report: Teen Drivers & The Law: What Parents Need To Know About Legal & Financial Liability.