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What Age Group Causes the Most Car Accidents?

Posted on: January 31, 2024

Car accidents are still a leading cause of death in the United States due to numerous causes, including age. However, not all age groups cause car accidents equally. Some age groups are disproportionately more responsible – young and older drivers.

Age alone is not responsible for car accidents, however. Numerous studies conclude that young and older drivers are the most likely age groups to cause car accidents due to dangerous driving behaviors and physical conditions. Far more so than middle-aged drivers.

Teenage drivers have the highest rate of crashes, though the statistics are a bit deceptive, as teens account for only 3.5 percent of all licensed drivers, much fewer than any other age group. Despite this, teenagers still account for nearly nine percent of all car crashes, with six percent resulting in fatalities.

Accident rates per 100,000 drivers drop between 25 and 75 before increasing again. Rates become significantly higher in drivers aged 80 and older, surpassing that of teenagers.

Why Are Young Drivers More At-Risk for Car Accidents?

Car accidents are the leading cause of teenage fatalities. Studies show that young drivers between 16 and 25 are the most likely to cause accidents. Teens aged 16 and 17 and those with a driver’s license of less than one year pose the highest risk. Other significant risk factors for young drivers include:

  • Drunk driving: Driving under the influence is a leading cause of car accidents for any age group, but young people are far more likely to drink or use drugs and drive. Studies show that teenagers are three times more likely to drink and drive than those age 25 and older per blood alcohol concentration level. Young people have less alcohol tolerance than older drivers, meaning that they have even less control when driving drunk.
  • Reckless driving: Young drivers are more likely to drive to take risks and drive dangerously, such as speeding, disobeying driving laws, and aggressive driving actions.
  • Overconfidence: Fearlessness and overconfidence are common in young drivers, leading to thrill-seeking behaviors that frequently result in car accidents.
  • Vehicle unfamiliarity: Fewer young people own cars and are more likely to borrow unfamiliar vehicles, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Why Do Older Drivers Have an Increased Risk of Car Accidents?

In contrast to young drivers, who cause car accidents through their driving behaviors, older drivers are more likely to cause accidents due to decreased abilities behind the wheel, such as:

  • Diminished reaction: Age and fragility tend to cause slower reaction times in older drivers, leading to a higher rate of car accidents.
  • Physiological impairments: Studies show that age-related physiological changes, such as high blood pressure, decreased cardiac function, or brain atrophy, are factors in car accidents caused by older drivers.
  • Diminished capacity: Certain age-related conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, significantly increase the risk of seniors causing car accidents. Family members who fail to prevent their elders from driving, such as removing car keys or taking their driver’s license, often contribute to this risk.
  • Hearing and vision loss: Worsening vision and hearing loss are dangerous conditions affecting driving ability and increasing accident risks.
  • Driving under the influence: Older drivers are less likely to drink and drive, but this age group continues to have high rates of driving under the influence of impairing prescription or illegal drugs.

New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Represent Clients Injured by Drivers in High-Risk Age Groups

Young and older drivers have much higher rates of causing car accidents due to age-related physical conditions or driving behaviors. If you have been injured in a crash, our New Jersey car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help. Call us today at 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.

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