Teen driver crashes potentially preventable by crash avoidance features and teen-driver-specific safety technologies

Mueller, Alexandra S. / Cicchino, Jessica B.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
September 2021

Introduction: Vehicle technologies have the potential to help address the disproportionate crash risk that teen drivers face. While crash avoidance features benefit the general population, several address crash scenarios for which teen drivers are particularly at risk, such as rear-end and lane-drift crashes. Other emerging technologies have been designed for teen drivers by addressing certain crash or injury risk factors associated with risky driving behavior, such as speeding or not wearing a seat belt.
Methods: Using nationwide U.S. crash data from 2016 to 2019, this study examined the maximum potential safety benefits of three currently available crash avoidance features (front crash prevention, lane departure prevention, and blind spot monitoring) and three teen-driver-specific technologies (speeding prevention, extended seatbelt reminders and interlocks, and nighttime curfew violation alerts).
Results: Teen-driver-specific features have the largest potential for reducing teen driver injuries and fatalities, followed by lane departure prevention, front crash prevention, and lastly blind spot monitoring; however, altogether these technologies have the potential to prevent 78% of teen driver fatalities, 47% of injured teen drivers, and 41% of crashes involving teen drivers.
Conclusions: Crash avoidance features and teen-driver-specific vehicle technologies appear to address different risk factors and crash scenarios, which emphasizes the importance of utilizing both types of safety features to reduce the crash risk of teen drivers. Practical applications: Wider acceptance, accessibility, and use of these technologies are needed for their safety potential to be realized. More manufacturers should offer and advertise teen-driver-specific technology suites that integrate crash avoidance systems and safety features that address risky driving behavior. While this study shows the maximum potential safety benefits of these technologies, further research is needed to understand the behavioral implications as teens learn to drive with these features.