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Study Reveals Elevated Risk of Teen Driving Fatalities in Ohio During Summer Months

A teenage female driver uses her cell phone behind the wheel.

Young motorists need to put safety first to protect themselves and others.

With the school year coming to a close, more and more teen drivers are going to be on Ohio roads for the next few months. Unfortunately, that means an increased risk of serious and even fatal car accidents. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the "100 Deadliest Days" on the road among safety advocates, and teen drivers are a significant portion of this danger.

A recent study conducted by shed some light on the dangers of teen driving here in Ohio. The study found that Ohio has 3.37 fatal accidents per 10,000 licensed teen drivers. That's actually lower than the national average, but there is a significant spike in the summer months: 38.6% of fatalities involving teen drivers happen between June and September.

Most often, when teenage drivers are involved in car accidents, the victims are also young — 55.6% of those killed in such fatal accidents are no older than 20. But teen drivers can be dangerous to anyone on the road, and it's important to understand why.

Breaking down the top causes of teen driving fatalities

The single most important factor in fatal car accidents involving teen drivers is speed. The Bumper study revealed that speed is a factor in 39.3% of fatal accidents involving teen drivers, compared to 28.7% of fatal accidents involving other age groups. High speed not only makes a collision more likely because the driver has less time to react — which is especially dangerous for inexperienced drivers — but also increases the risk that the accident will cause severe or fatal injuries because of the higher force of impact.

The second-leading factor is driving under the influence of alcohol, at 31.8% of teen driver fatalities. This is actually lower than the drunk driving fatal accident rate among other age groups, which makes sense as drivers over 21 have easier access to alcohol. Still, when teens do drive under the influence, they pose a significant danger to themselves and others.

Distracted driving, including texting and cell phone use, is a distant third; it's a factor in 9.2% of fatal teen driver accidents. This may be because distracted driving crashes often happen at lower speeds where a fatality is less likely, although serious injuries are still possible.

Parents, educators, and teens have a shared responsibility to keep our roads safe

The statistics on teen driving make it clear that safety needs to be a top priority among young motorists. Parents and other responsible adults need to hold teen drivers to high standards to reduce the risk of fatal accidents. Some safety tips for teen drivers include:

  • Obey the posted speed limit — again, speeding is the single biggest cause of teen driving fatalities.
  • Put the phone down and avoid distractions — including talking to passengers.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs — parents can help with this by offering to drive their teens home at any time if they are intoxicated or otherwise unsafe.

Of course, these safety tips aren't unique to teens. They are important for drivers of all ages. But it's particularly important to reinforce them with young drivers, not just to prevent fatalities this summer, but also to build safe driving habits that will last for the rest of their lives.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one, we can help

As we enter the summer months, it's important for young drivers and motorists of all ages to take steps to prevent serious and fatal accidents. It's also important for injured drivers and passengers to know their rights. If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a young driver, an experienced Columbus, OH car accident attorney can help. Contact Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC today for a free case consultation.

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Charleston, WV

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
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Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 720-1000

Columbus, OH

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
20 E Broad St Suite 1000
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 587-8423