Car accidents hit teen drivers hard


Brandon Ross

Student is shocked after having experienced a car accident.

Cheyenne Inman, Reporter

In Utah youth between the ages of 15-19 only account for 8% of all licensed drivers, however, according to teens make up 20% of all traffic collisions. Most of these accidents occur after school hours. There are many different causes of these traffic accidents ranging from following too closely to drunk driving.

Driver’s Ed teacher Mr. Guy Mackay, shed some light on the most common cause of traffic collisions involving teens saying, “The biggest reason for new driver accidents is they follow too closely[…] It is 66% of the accidents that that 16-19 year old drivers cause.”

Following too closely can be very dangerous as cars can stop unexpectedly at any time. It is recommended that experienced drivers keep at least two seconds away from the car in front of them and that new drivers keep three seconds away from other vehicles to prevent traffic accidents.

While following too closely is a major cause of teen traffic accidents, distracted driving is as well. Leah Forrest who has previously been involved in a traffic collision as a result of distracted driving gives this piece of advice saying, “Stay focused[…] even when there aren’t friends in [the car] there is the radio and you have your phone. You need to shut it all off[..] you need to be aware of your surroundings.”

According to, 23% of all traffic collisions in 2011 involved a cellphone. Even more shocking is the fact that according to the CDC 32.8% of teenagers have admitted to texting and driving. Distracted driving can be very dangerous. It causes 10% of all fatal car accidents.

Another cause of traffic accidents among teenagers is inexperience. The first two years that someone has a driver’s license is when they are most likely to get in collisions or receive tickets. Noah Hassler, a Taylorsville senior, shares this thought, “Any new driver is likely to get in a car crash, not just teenagers.” Teenagers are not used to being on the road and that causes them to underestimate dangerous situations. A good way to avoid this is to practice defensive driving.

One of the most fatal driving habits is drinking and driving. Shockingly according to 13.5% of seniors have reported drinking and driving at one point. It is also reported that 25% of fatal teen traffic collisions involved alcohol. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink but if you do don’t drink and drive. Phone a friend or call an Uber.

Despite thinking that we are good drivers, 20% of us will be involved in traffic collisions by the time our junior year ends states So when the car accidents happen what can we do to stay safe? Well for the first part make sure that you are always wearing your seatbelt.

Another safety tip stated by Mackay is “Secure anything[…]inside the car so if they are involved in the accident things aren’t flying around the car.” All in all, teenagers practicing good driving habits avoid being involved in a collision, especially within the first two years of being licensed.