The Indiana Car Accident Lawyers of Crossen Kooi Law have learned that of the 940 traffic fatalities in the State of Indiana in 1994, 209 (22.2%) involved a driver between the age of 16-20 years old. The Indiana injury attorneys of Crossen Kooi Law have also learned that of these 209 drivers, 95 died as a result of their crash-related injuries. Although this age group represented only 8.0% of Indiana’s licensed drivers, it accounted for nearly 15.5% of the total fatal crashes in Indiana in 1997. These numbers are highly disproportionate to other age ranges, and motor vehicle fatality rates among 16-20 year-olds have continued to remain the highest of all age categories in the State of Indina for the last 10 years. These numbers did improve slightly in 1996; however, the fatality rate for the younger drivers was still disproportionate to all other age groups.
The numbers for this age group are simply staggering. 65,642 drivers ages 16-20 were involved in a motor vehicle crash in the State of Indiana in 1997. This is representative of 17.5% of the total number of drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes in the same year. Of the 65,642 drivers, a 16 or 17 year-old was
behind the wheel 42.7% of the time. This accounts for nearly 1/3 of all 16-year-old licensed drivers and almost 1/4 of all 17-year-old licensed drivers Thus, in 1997 1 in 3 16 year-olds and 1 in 4 17 year-olds were involved in a motor vehicle accident.
84.2% of 16-17 year-old driver fatalities and 78.5% of 18-20 year-old
driver fatalities occurred in a rural area. However, for drivers sustaining serious to moderate injuries after a crash, the picture is somewhat different. For 16-17 year-old injured drivers, 53.1% crashed in a rural area, but for 18-20 year-old
injured drivers, 54.8% crashed in an urban area.
The vehicular contributing circumstance is an important factor in ascertaining why younger drivers (less than 21 years of age) are involved in higher rates of crashes than older, more experienced drivers. For single-vehicle crashes, the prevalent contributing circumstances were driver inattention (27.6%), materials on road/weather (19.2%), and speed too fast for related conditions (17.6%). Numerous reasons can be attributed to a young driver’s inattention to the roadway, such as passenger interruptions and/or conversation, loud music, eating while driving, etc. Crashes attributed to materials on road/weather could indicate that young drivers are more willing to risk driving in snow, ice, or water covered roads or that they do not adjust their driving pattern to the road condition due to their inexperience in such situations. For multiple-vehicle crashes the prevalent contributing circumstances were driver inattention (26.6%), failure to yield (15.0%), and materials on road/weather (5.6%).
- All data, except where otherwise noted, is obtained from the 1997 Indiana State Police Crash Reports and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, NHTSA.