Fatal Teen Driver-Related Crashes Increases During Pandemic | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Traffic in Virginia has been lighter over the past eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this has meant a decrease in car accidents. Unfortunately, while the overall number of crashes has gone down, the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers has increased this year.

According to statistics issued by AAA, as of the middle of October, 55 victims have died in accidents that involved a teen driver. To understand this alarming spike, it is important to note that the total number of fatalities in teen-related crashes over the prior five years.

This year, there have been a total of 9,971 teen driver crashes, which is down by almost 30 percent compared to the years 2015 to 2019. Each of those years, there were approximately 14,445 teen driver crashes each year. However, the percentage of fatalities is higher, despite the far fewer number of crashes. During the prior five years, there was an average of 51 victims killed in teen driver accidents.

One of the reasons why there may be more teen accident fatalities is that teens are driving less due to the fact that many schools and activities are closed, so they may not be gaining enough experience behind the wheel. Statistically, there is a much higher risk of being involved in a crash during the first few months a teen gets their driver’s license. In fact, data shows that in prior years, the crash rate per mile driver is 1.5 times higher for 16-year-old drivers than it is for 18-year-old drivers.

This trend is not just being seen in Virginia, but all over the country. While there are fewer cars on the nation’s roads because of the pandemic, resulting in fewer crashes, the number of fatal crashes overall is higher than in previous years.

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

If you have a teen driver in your household, there are safety tips that you can go over with them and make sure they follow in order to help minimize their risk of being in a crash. These include:

  • Always obey all traffic laws.
  • Always obey the speed limit.
  • Always wear a seat belt, whether a driver or passenger.
  • Never use a cell phone while driving. This includes checking the phone at stoplights. It also includes hands-free driving.
  • Never get behind the wheel if high or drunk. Never get into a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.
  • Never get behind the wheel if drowsy.
  • Never get in a vehicle with a driver who is inexperienced or does not have a license.
  • Do not drive in bad weather

Having your teen practice with small driving trips – a few miles at a time – will help them gain the experience and confidence they need to be a safe driver. Make sure that your teen knows the steps to take if they are in an accident. And one of the most important things to remember is to always set a good example for your teen. For example, if you speed, your teen will think that is okay to do the same thing when they are driving.

Contact a Va. Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how safe a driver your teen is, there is always the risk that other drivers on the road will not be. If your teen has been injured in a crash caused by another driver, contact a seasoned Virginia car accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have for your child’s injuries.

Our Virginia injury law firm has successfully advocated for many injured clients in getting the damages they deserved for their injuries and would be happy to discuss the details of your child’s injuries and how we can help. For more information, check out our free safety and injury checklist for children and teens.