Percentage of Accidents Involving Teens versus Adults

By Ursula Nizalowski 

It’s no secret that accidents are a frequent risk to drivers no matter where they live. Though the
driver’s age is often factored in the number of total accidents per year. For instance, many
people believe teens are more likely to get into car accidents than adults. But how true is this
belief, and what can be done to lower the percentage of accidents in general? For these questions
to be answered, we need to look at the percentage of accidents where teens were involved and
compare them to adults.

Road Statistics
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 16-19 year-olds “represent 3.6% of licensed
drivers, but account for 9.3% of drivers in all crashes and 6.3% of drivers in fatal crashes” while
“drivers 65 to 74 account for 13.3% of licensed drivers, but represent only 7.1% of drivers in all
crashes and 8.1% of drivers in fatal crashes”. This means more teens are getting into car
accidents than adults percentage-wise, but not as many fatal crashes compared to adults. Now in
both age groups, statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show males tend to get in more car accidents than
females. So if we’re looking at the raw numbers, “Adult men cause 6.1 million car accidents per
year and adult women cause 4.4 million” as quoted by the Barnes Firm from NHTSA and the
CDC says the “motor vehicle crash death rate” was three times higher for teenage boys than girls
in 2020 alone.


Teens – Because they’re young, teenage drivers are less experienced than adult drivers
making them more likely to make mistakes. For instance, Kanner and Pintataluga’s website
claims “they are distracted easily” and “aren’t afraid to take risks” such as “running red lights or
crossing multiple lanes”. Now these may seem like stereotypes on the surface, but there’s a deep
psychological truth to them as the brain of a teenager is still developing, which makes them less
focused, and they have a strong sense of vitality leading them to think they’re invincible
resulting in reckless behavior.

Adults – Even though adult brains are more developed than a teen’s brain, that doesn’t
mean they’re necessarily better at avoiding car accidents. This is especially true for elder drivers
who are 65 years old and over, who made up 66% of the car-related deaths in 2021. Reasons for
this include seniors being more prone to getting tired, having physical limitations due to old age,
or taking medicines that make them drowsy.

Preventative Measures

Teens – With the risk of car accidents being fairly high among teenage drivers, it’s
imperative that they take the right precautions to avoid accidents as much as possible. Some
suggestions include: having only one passenger in the car at a time, no texting on the road, no
night driving, and obeying the speed limits. But if a teen does end up in a car accident, here’s
some advice about what they should do.

Adults – For young to middle-aged adult drivers, it’s all about following the rules and
avoiding things like road rage. But for seniors, having to accept that their physical limitations
might lead to fatal accidents isn’t easy. So the NSC suggests “Older adults should plan ahead before driving trips and, if necessary, consider alternative transportation,” and “Staying physically active may also help”.

For more information on car accident statistics and how to prevent them, feel free to contact
attorney Rick Wagner .