Common Crash Causes

Critical Errors
75% of teen crashes are due to 3 critical errors:
  • Lack of scanning needed to detect and respond to hazards
  • Going too fast for road conditions
  • Being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle
    Source: Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2011
Unsafe Speed
  • Speeding is a factor in 40% of all teen driver fatalities. Unsafe speed is the leading cause of crashes involving young drivers.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Speeding results in:
    • Increased stopping distance
    • Reduced reaction time
    • Increased risk of injury or death if a crash occurs
    • More difficult to control vehicle
    • Little time savings
      Source: California Highway Patrol
  • Situations in which you should reduce your speed:
    • Bad weather- rain, fog, high winds, snow, and ice
    • When approaching a curve in the road
    • On downhill grades
    • At intersections
    • In heavy traffic
    • In construction work zones
Fatigue / Drowsy Driving
  • Being awake for 18 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08, which is legally drunk.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • 3/4 of teens report having seen other teens driving noticeably tired.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Drivers younger than age 25 cause the majority of drowsy driving-related crashes.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Teens need 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep each night.
    Source: National Sleep Foundation
  • Being tired causes both physical and cognitive impairments:
    • Coordination
    • Reaction Time
    • Judgment
    • Ability to concentrate
Impaired Driving
  • Young drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do, even with low or moderate blood alcohol levels.
    Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Even a small amount of alcohol will impair your reaction time behind the wheel.
  • The probability of a fatal crash increases steadily with increasing driver BAC.
    Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
  • How Alcohol Affects Driving
    • Relaxes the eye muscles which means you are more likely to miss objects in your field of vision
    • Affects your ability to focus. Objects can become blurry and more difficult to recognize.
    • Affects your ability to judge distance.
    • Reduces your ability to see at night.
    • Makes it more difficult for your eyes to recover from exposure to bright light.
Distracted Driving
  • Inexperience combined with distractions is lethal behind the wheel.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • A driver who talks on a cell phone is 4 times more likely to be involved in a serious crash, regardless of whether it’s hands-free.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Distracted driving impairs your reaction time to respond to unexpected emergencies.
  • 2/3 of teens who die are passengers of teen drivers.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • 2 or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel.
    Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Crash risk is directly proportional to the number of teenaged passengers being transported.
    Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Journal of Safety Research
Driving at Night
  • The fatal crash rate of 16 year-olds is nearly twice as high at night.
    Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Among teen nighttime crashes, 58% happen between 9 p.m. and midnight.
    Source: Journal of Injury Prevention
  • Young teenaged drivers (16 and 17 year-olds) have a higher rate of nighttime crashes than do drivers of any other age group.
    Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
  • 90% of a driver’s reaction depends on vision and vision is severely limited at night. The following aspects of vision are compromised in the dark:
    • Depth perception
    • Visual acuity
    • Color recognition
    • Peripheral vision
      Source: National Safety Council
  • It is more difficult to judge other vehicle’s speeds and distances at night. Reduce your speed and increase your following distances.
    Source: National Safety Council