There is more than one reason why teenage drivers are experiencing car accidents each year. Inexperience, drowsy driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol are just a few of the factors that contribute. Understanding what factors have been implicated in teen car accidents may be able to help us understand why these accidents happen. This can ultimately help us find ways to prevent such accidents. For the teens who survive with personal injuries, the parents are often responsible for the damages. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a car accident caused by a negligent driver, consider consulting with a Tennessee auto accident lawyer to seek compensation.

Factors that Cause Teen Car Accidents

Driver inexperience is often the first factor many people think of when it comes to teen car accidents. It is true that teens have less experience with driving and that this is considered a contributing factor by many studies, but there are other factors to consider.

Distractions have been shown to play a large role in driver mistakes, which almost always lead to accidents. The smallest perceptual error of where other cars or objects are on the road can lead to a collision. Texting and driving is a well-known distractor and can keep teens from seeing upcoming turns and stop signs. Other common distractors are multiple passengers and performing activities while driving, like eating.

There are also types of impaired driving like drowsy driving and driving under the influence of drugs like alcohol.

How Drowsiness and Alcohol Impair Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol at a certain age or with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over 0.08% is illegal for a reason. Studies have consistently shown that these activities significantly increase a person’s risk of an accident.

At a BAC of 0.02%, people will start feeling relaxed with poor judgment and a slight decrease in visual skills. For example, someone might find it increasingly difficult to accurately follow moving objects. When you are driving, dozens of objects are moving past and around you all the time. Multi-tasking is also hindered, which is always incorporated while driving.

By a BAC of 0.05%, judgment is impaired, coordination becomes poor, and steering is challenging. This makes responding to unexpected changes on the road difficult. At a 0.08% BAC, concentration on things like traffic signs is hindered and perception becomes dull. This interferes with accurate signal detection and visual searching of the road.

Drowsy driving has similar, but not the same effects. Reaction time, attention and perception can be negatively impacted by mild to moderate sleep deprivation. For drivers who are extremely sleep-deprived, they can unknowingly fall asleep at the wheel.