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Factors in Driver Deaths

There are three primary contributing factors to teen driver deaths - use of alcohol, not wearing a seat belt, and driver distractions.


  • Alcohol and/or drugs negatively affect the safety and abilities of any driver.
  • Because of their age, teen drivers are more likely to be affected by alcohol and are the least experienced drivers on the road.
  • Understandably, alcohol poses an even greater risk to teen drivers (and their passengers) than to other drivers on the road.
  • Even if no crash, injury, or death occurs, there are very serious criminal consequences for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Alcohol and driving never mix - and that is especially true for teen drivers.

Seat Belts

  • Always wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a vehicle is the single best way to prevent vehicular injury and death and is very easy to do, yet many people still fail to do so.
  • Air bags and passive restraint systems have proven effective in reducing injury and death in certain types of crashes, but they are no substitute for seat belts and work best when used along with seat belts.
  • Teen drivers and passengers are less likely to wear seat belts than their adult counterparts, but more likely to be in a crash where they could prove useful.
  • Teen drivers possibly have the most to gain by wearing seat belts every time they drive or ride.
  • Wearing them is also the law - seat belts are required for drivers and most passengers in Alabama.


  • All drivers must deal with distractions while driving but, as the least-experienced drivers on the road, teen drivers are at the greatest risk of having those distractions put them in danger.
  • Driving is an important and potentially dangerous activity that requires attention and focus from the driver at all times.

Some common distractions that are known to cause or contribute to teen driver injuries and deaths include:

  • Passengers - the likelihood of a crash goes up with each additional passenger in the vehicle
  • Talking on cell phones and/or text messaging - please pull off the road to talk or text
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, temperature controls, etc.
  • Listening to music too loudly or using headphones

A driver's eyes, ears, and complete attention are all required for safe driving! Learn about other contributing factors in teen driver crashes, injuries, and fatalities, on the Teen Driving Facts and Figures page.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021