According to statistics, the leading cause of death for people aged 15-19 years old worldwide is traffic accidents. Traffic accidents are the second leading cause of deaths for those aged 10-14 years old and 20-24 years old. In the United States, two out of every five teen deaths are due to motor vehicle crashes. Teenage drivers are four times more likely to cause a crash than older drivers. Given these alarming statistics, there's little doubt that parents are apprehensive when it comes to letting their teens take to the roads. Here's what every parent of teen drivers and soon-to-be drivers needs to know.

Common Causes of Teen Motor Vehicle Accidents

Here's a run-down of the common causes of teen crashes if you are the parent of a teen who is itching to get into the driver's seat.


While inexperience is definitely one of the most common causes of teen crashes, inexperience goes along with any new venture. Go above and beyond the hours of driving experience with a driver's permit that are mandated by your state's laws. Of course, you'll want to give them plenty of experience driving under your watchful eye and instructions before they take their driver's test.

Some teens, particularly those who are rebellious towards their parents, may not be as willing to take instructions given to them by their parents while they practice driving. If this is the case with your teen, or you would simply like to forego the teeth-clenching, knuckle-gripping experience of being a driving instructor for your teen, send them to a driving school so they can gain the experience they need.

Distracted Driving

Another common cause of teen motor vehicle accidents is distraction. For teens today, most have cell phones and other mobile devices that can distract them while driving. Instruct them to not use these devices at all while driving. But as every parent of teens know, they don't always follow their parents' instructions or the laws regarding distracted driving.

Some manufacturers have developed models with steering wheel buttons and voice-activated controls that can allow drivers hands-free communication capabilities. However, there's likely still a cognitive distraction that could cause a young, inexperienced driver to lose control. One thing you can do to make sure your teen understand the ramifications of distracted driving is to have them speak with a personal injury lawyer who has represented families who have dealt with their teen's death due causing a car accident while distracted with a mobile device.


Another cause of teen accidents is when they are reckless, which can include excessive speeding, hot-dogging, and showing off. Since you won't always be in the passenger seat, especially after your teen gets their driver's license, you can still somewhat control how they drive with new technology.

Some car manufacturers have developed technology that can limit the maximum speeds a vehicle can reach and limit the audio system's volume level. There is also technology that can allow you to set perimeters that, when breached, will cause an alert to get sent to your text messaging service.

Parental Responsibilities When Their Teen Crashes

Depending on the laws of the state, you could be held liable for your teen's car accident. Most states have what is called vicarious liability, which can hold parents and guardians liable and responsible for injuries and damages caused by their teen drivers. This is particularly true if a parent knows their teen has a propensity to use their mobile devices while driving, speed excessively, and/or drive recklessly. Visit a site like and speak with a personal injury lawyer to get a better understanding about the vicarious liability laws in your state.