Newly Licensed Teens More Likely to Crash than Older Drivers


Recently, I was motivated to obtain statistics on crash fatalities involving teen drivers ages 16 to 20. I found the disappointing statistics that I more or less expected to find; i.e. teens within the age range of 16-20 experienced a disproportionately high number of fatal crashes over every other age group sampled. According to the Center for Disease Control, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. That’s a dizzying statistic and the reason that many parents dread the day their children begin driving.

The highest risk factors involved in teen driving crashes:

  • Male teen drivers and passengers are twice as likely as their female counterparts to die in a motor vehicle accident;
  • Teens driving teens without adult supervision increases the crash risk; the greater the number of teens in the car, the higher the risk; and

The inherent risk is especially high for teenagers within the first year after they start driving due to a disadvantageous lack of experience and judgment skills.

The graduated driver’s license addresses many risk issues

Indiana has enacted its own brand of the graduated driver’s license popularized by so many states across the country. Beginning July 1, 2009, Indiana law, IC 9-24-11-3, provided for a minor’s ‘probationary’ driver’s license with certain named restrictions for all teens under the age of 18.

Restrictions on the Probationary Driver’s License

A quick look at Indiana’s probationary driver’s license restrictions include:

  1. Minors may not use any type of telecommunication device while driving except to make emergency 911 calls;
  2. For the first 180 days after getting a probationary license, minors under the age of 18 may not drive between 10pm and 5am;
  3. After 180 days, minors may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the Sunday through Thursday;
  4. After 180 days, minors may not drive on Friday and Saturday between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m;
  5. Drivers under the age of 18 are permitted to drive at any time if traveling to or from work, school, or a religious event or if accompanied by an individual with a valid Indiana’s driver’s license who is 25 years or older;
  6. Driving with passengers is restricted for the first 180 days after obtaining a probationary minor’s license unless the minor is accompanied by a licensed instructor, an individual with a valid Indiana driver’s license who is 25 years or older, or a parent, guardian, or step-parent who is 21 years or older.  A minor may drive with their child, sibling or spouse during the hours allowed by law.
  7. Holder’s of probationary driver’s license will not qualify for court diversion programs.

Restrictions Diminish Over Time

Driving restrictions begin to fall away, gradually allowing more and more responsibility as confidence in judgment increases, and as the minor approaches his or her 18th birthday. At the age of 18, the individual may amend the probationary license removing the probationary designation from the license, but once the driver reaches 18, the probationary restrictions no longer apply even if the license is designated “probationary.” An individual who holds a probationary license may receive an operator’s license, chauffeur’s license, a public passenger chauffeur’s license, or a commercial driver’s license when the individual is at least 18 years of age. In most cases, this probationary driver’s license would expire by midnight, 30 days after the twenty-first birthday of the holder.

If you anticipate your child will be receiving their probationary license soon, you can obtain a FREE Graduated Driving Toolkit.

Skilled and seasoned Indianapolis personal injury attorneys working to protect your rights

If you recently lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of someone else, the wrongful death attorneys in Indianapolis, IN at Ward & Ward Law Firm can help ensure that you do not suffer needless financial distress in addition to mourning your tragic loss.  The law firm of Ward & Ward has over 80 years of experience in wrongful death claims, auto accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, and injuries associated with semi tractor-trailer accidents. Ward & Ward invite you to contact them as soon as possible to arrange a free initial consultation about your case, by phone at 317-639-9501, through their website at, or simply by visiting their conveniently-located downtown Indianapolis office.

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