6 Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

The Top Reasons for Teen Car Crashes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes are the second leading cause of death for American teenagers. CDC data also shows that nearly 2,4000 teens (aged 13-19) were killed and 258,000 were injured in automobile accidents. Many of these accidents are preventable, however, and by understanding what causes these accidents, we can help keep our teen drivers safe. Below, we outline the six common reasons teens are often involved in automobile collisions.

Alcohol & Drugs

Driving while under the influence is dangerous for anyone at any age. Alcohol and drugs can negatively affect your decision-making abilities, reflexes, and vision/perception. Underage drinking and substance abuse contribute to a lot of teen driving accidents. According to the CDC, those aged 13-19 are the most likely (of any age group) to be involved in a fatal accident involving alcohol.


Teen drivers may engage in other activities while driving (i.e. drive while distracted), which can lead to a collision or crash. Texting and driving is the most talked about form of distracted driving, but teens should also avoid applying makeup, watching videos, playing games, changing their playlists, eating, and any other activity that divides their attention. Their sole focus should be driving and paying attention to the road.


If a teen is tired while driving, they can easily become involved in an accident. While having a job, maintaining their grades, spending time with friends, spending time on extracurricular activities, and managing their other responsibilities can be taxing, they should prioritize rest and sleep to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.


As teens are often exhilarated by the freedom of having a license and being able to drive alone, they may engage in reckless driving habits when they first obtain their license. Their lack of driving experience and maturity can also cause an accident as they may make driving mistakes.


Passengers cannot only serve as a distraction but can also encourage drivers to engage in reckless practices. If they have a friend or even sibling in the car, a teenage driver may feel pushed or be literally pushed (or dared) to engage in risky behaviors. According to NHTSA statistics, teenagers are three times more likely to drive recklessly or engage in dangerous behaviors if passengers are in the car than when they drive alone.


In 2019, speeding was a factor in 27% of fatal teen driving accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When drivers speed, they risk not having enough time to react or stop should the need arise. In inclement weather conditions or on certain roads, speeding also presents an even greater risk. However, many teens speed and engage in other reckless driving habits that can lead to an accident.

Safety Tips for Parents with Teen Drivers

If you have a teen driver, you are likely worried about their safety while they are on the road. To protect them, here are some helpful tips concerning how you can better keep them safe. If your teen follows this advice, hopefully, you will feel better giving them the keys to your car.

  • Have consequences for distracted driving for you and your teens. As an example to your teen(s), you should implement a reward/punishment system concerning what happens when either of you drives distracted. If either of you drives distracted, the other can be rewarded in some way or the distracted party can be punished.
  • Monitor your teenager’s speed and other driving habits. You should monitor your teen’s driving habits and practices so that you can discourage and address bad habits. Depending on how new your vehicle is, the car may have features that allow you set a maximum speed using an app. You can also install an app on your teen’s phone that monitors their speed if your car doesn’t have that feature.
  • Prioritize continued education. Your teenager may have taken a driving course already, but as inexperience can lead to an accident, you should consider dedicating even more time to driving together or practicing even after they are licensed. When you drive them around, you should also be sure that you model good driving habits.
  • Remind your teen to buckle up. Minors are legally required to wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle regardless of where they are seated. Wearing a seatbelt can also save their life if they are involved in a collision. According to the NHTSA, 45% of teen drivers that died in crashes were not wearing their seatbelts.
  • Remind your teen to get some rest. Ensure your teen gets a good night’s rest and maintains a consistent sleep schedule. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving as drowsiness can affect your body in the same way that alcohol or other substances do.
  • Set a curfew. Colorado teen drivers do have driving restrictions during their first year as a driver, including not being allowed to drive at midnight and five a.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent or teacher, have a medical emergency, are emancipated, or are driving to or from work, school, or related activity. As they continue to gain experience, you may also place additional restrictions on where and when they can drive for the first year as a licensed driver (or longer).
  • Tell them that they can always call you. If your teen or their friend/ride has been drinking or consuming drugs, you want them to feel comfortable reaching out to you to ask for a ride instead. While you should make it clear there may be consequences or a lecture, you should also make it clear they can reach out to you no matter what.

Involved in a crash with or as a teen driver? Contact the Law Office of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C. today to schedule a case consultation by calling (720) 809-8262. We can help you minimize your liability, maximize your compensation, and make informed decisions.