Teen Driver Car Accidents

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Michigan Laws for Teen DriversThe statistics around teen drivers and accidents are frightening. According to Michigan State Police, car accidents are the number one cause of death in teens, making up one third of all deaths among people age 16-19 in Michigan. Teens are also four times more likely than an adult to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With the risks being so high for teen drivers, safe driving habits should start the moment drivers first take the wheel. One of the most effective strategies Michigan put in place is Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, which had the following impact according to a JAMA Network study:

“The risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash in 1999 was 25% lower than in 1996 for 16-year-olds. Reductions in risk were also found in nonfatal injury crashes (24%) and combined fatal and nonfatal injury crashes (24%); for day (24%), evening (21%), and night crashes (53%); and for single-vehicle (29%) and multivehicle crashes (23%).”

Michigan Laws for Teen Drivers

Drivers Licensing — Michigan has three levels of licenses for teens, starting with Level 1 (teens are eligible at 14 years and 9 months for this level, which is essentially intended for guided practice with a licensed adult); continuing with Level 2 (which permits teen driving alone before 10 p.m. when certain conditions are met, including being free from violations, accidents, and suspensions); and concluding with Level 3 (which lifts night-driving and passenger restrictions after the teen reaches age 17 and has not had any crashes, violations or at-fault accidents for more than 12 months previously).

Rules of the Road — Like adults, teens are prohibited from reading, writing or sending text messages while driving. And Michigan law takes it a step further: Level 1 and Level 2 licensees are banned from using handheld cell phones for any reason while driving. And parents are able to withdraw permission for their children to drive at any time before kids reach age 18. So kids, be polite to your mothers and fathers!

Penalties — According to AAA, teenage drivers who are ticketed or involved in an accident — even if it‘s their first offense — can find themselves in court, and could be fined or have their licenses suspended. And according to a Michigan Court of Appeals decision described by mlive.com, parents may be held liable in civil proceedings for their children’s actions if they fail “to exercise reasonable care to prevent their minor child from intentionally harming others.”

Michigan Teenage Car Accident Statistics

Here are the statistics on teen motor vehicle crashes in 2019, according to Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning:

  • There were 509,380 licensed drivers ages 15-20* who represented 7.0 percent of Michigan’s driving population. The drivers in this age group represented 10.1 percent (54,177) of drivers in all crashes and 8.6 percent (124) of drivers in fatal crashes.
  • The 15-20 age group accounted for 8.0 percent (79) of all traffic deaths, and 55.7 percent (44) of those deaths were drivers.
  • In addition, 9,302 teenagers and young adults were injured in motor vehicle crashes, representing 12.4 percent of all people injured in crashes.
  • Generally, younger drivers were involved in more shoulder/outside curb crashes and had a higher incidence of speeding, overturn, inability to stop in assured clear distance, collision with a ditch, and hitting a tree.
  • They were less likely to be alone in their car at the time of the crash.
  • The most common hazardous action coded for the 124 drivers age 15-20 who were involved in fatal crashes was speed too fast, with 16.9% (21) of the total.
  • Weekends accounted for 22.2 percent of crash involvements for drivers age 15-20, compared with only 20.5 percent of crash involvements for drivers 21 and older.
  • Teenagers and young adults accounted for 5.4 percent (8) of the pedestrians killed in Michigan, and 13.0 percent (248) of all pedestrian injuries.

Seeking Legal Help After a Teenage Driving Accident

At Mike Morse Law Firm, we represent the interests of people whose lives have been affected due to an auto accident and help them get past their injuries in the best ways possible. We consider it a public service to inform drivers — especially teen drivers — about the damaging effects they can have on the lives of others if they fail to observe laws intended to protect everyone on the road. If you or your teen have been injured in a car crash and would like to speak with an experienced injury attorney, contact us anytime 24/7 at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946). You can also email us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement.

Teen Driving Laws References and Resources

American Automobile Association’s website for teen drivers in Michigan
Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning
Michigan State Police