Teen Driver Crashes and Fatalities Spike Up During the Pandemic

teenage boy on phone after car crash

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life as well as how the world functions from concerts to shopping and everything in-between. One less-thought-about aspect that’s changed is how people are driving. More specifically, what car accident statistics look like as more people work remotely or are still out of work.

The Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) have worked meticulously to compile data on teen driver fatalities in the past, as well as working to provide tips for parents on how to keep their kids safe. Recent findings, combined with this data, show a startling trend as the pandemic rolls onward.

Increase in Accidents

From 2015 to 2019, both organizations found that speeding-related fatalities were highest among teenagers aged 16-19. Their rate was 43%, while all other age groups combined sat at 30%. Over those five years, 4,930 teens died from speeding, both drivers and passengers.

Those numbers were produced under normal traffic conditions. With the pandemic, roads and highways are less crowded. This can make speeding tempting for any age group, but that action isn’t any safer despite the lack of vehicles on the road.

State after state has reported an increase in accidents since the pandemic began, especially fatalities caused by speeding. Even with less cars and open roads, drivers can and are losing control over their vehicles at high speeds.

Speeding Factors

The 2015 to 2019 report held a few interesting findings that shed light on speeding-related accidents, especially among teens. The driver is usually a male, often not wearing their seatbelt, and either runs off the road or rolls the vehicles in most cases.

Take those factors into consideration for the already high number of speeding fatalities prior to the pandemic, then combine with them data coming out of each state. State officials point to tragic stories of teens speeding, leading to the death of themselves and passengers, citing pandemic-related reasons.

People have been cooped up for a while, which means two things. One, driving on less crowded and open roads is a way to beat boredom and blow off steam. Two, people are overly excited to see their friends and family again as restrictions are lifted and vaccines are administered. With both factors now in play, it has created a trend of careless driving and speeding.

What Can You Do?

Teen drivers are the most likely to be involved in a speeding-related accident. If you have a teen driver in your household, there are ways you can protect them. From a financial and legal aspect, it helps to know the number of a professional like this San Jose car accident attorney. For preventative measures, the GHSA recommends technology.

There are various apps on the market that allow parents to track their child’s speed, detect hard braking, and other risky behaviors while they’re behind the wheel. In-car technologies can also help parents accomplish this while also setting a top speed for the car.

Finally, parents can take advantage of the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. With plenty of award, this program from Ford Fund has helped over 1.25 million teen drivers develop the skills they need to stay safe on the road with a special focus on respecting speed limits.