Knowing the statistics and facts about teen distracted driving can help families manage this dangerous crash risk. Driving while distracted can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for teen drivers. Peer passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the radio, eating, or applying makeup are all dangerous distractions. If the brain is thinking about anything other than driving, it can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for inexperienced teen drivers.
Beyond sharing facts and statistics about distracted driving, parents need to model safe driving behaviors by not using a cell phone -- whether hands-free or hand-held -- while driving (including at stoplights) and not applying makeup, fiddling with the radio, or eating when behind the wheel.
Parents should limit peer passengers for their newly licensed teens, a major crash risk. Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen behind the wheel. The aim is engaged driving, where teen drivers are continuously attentive and focused.
Watch this video with your teen to help avoid distractions both inside and outside the car:
In 2020, there were 3,142 people killed and an estimated additional 324,652 people injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
More Facts About Teen Distracted Driving
- In 2020, 7% of drivers ages 15-20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted, the largest proportion for any age group.
- In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month.
- Young adults (ages 18-24) who self-report cell phone use while driving also engage in other risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, running red lights, and impatiently passing a car in front on the right.
- Even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors anyway.
- Teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents, more than general calling patterns would suggest.