Skip to Content

Alcohol or Cell Phones: What Puts Teens More At Risk?

teenage boy standing with an older man looking at a damaged from bumper of a mid-sized vehicle

Crashes Caused by Alcohol or Distracted Driving

Every year, thousands of teenagers are injured or killed on our roads. In many cases, these are due to preventable causes like driving under the influence and distracted driving. While both scenarios are dangerous, they impact different age groups differently.

Young Drivers and Alcohol Use

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in 2020, of the more than 4,500 drivers aged 15 to 20 killed in alcohol-involved crashes, about 17% had a BAC of .08% or higher.

In many ways, alcohol or drug use can affect young drivers disproportionately over older drivers. For one, teens are more likely to overestimate their ability when driving impaired. Additionally, the NHTSA indicates that alcohol impairs judgment and reflexes at a greater rate in younger drivers than older ones.

Distracted Driving Among Young Drivers

This age group also made up 11% of drivers killed in distracted driving-related crashes (about 344 people) in 2019. Although this seems like a small group, distracted driving is reported to be a factor in over 1.6 million crashes annually.

It's important to remember that knowing whether or not someone was distracted at the time of the crash is not always so black and white. Although you can trace cell phone data to see whether text messages were exchanged at the time of the incident, you likely cannot discern if someone was using other applications. This can cause the statistics of distracted driving crashes to essentially be underreported, as even those who were injured or remained unharmed may be hesitant to confess to being distracted.

Which Puts Teens At More Risk?

Statistically speaking, more young drivers die due to alcohol-involved crashes than distracted driving crashes. However, there is an element of underreporting that should be taken into account. Nevertheless, these crash factors are 100% preventable, and all drivers should actively work to eradicate them.

Law Offices Of Vic Feazell, P.C. encourages safe driving practices among drivers of any age. If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to an intoxicated or distracted driver, we can help you seek justice. Call (254) 938-6885 today to schedule a free consultation.