According to a new study, over one-third of teens engage in risky aggressive driving behaviors, and more than half endanger other motorists by speeding.

As most people in Kansas City know, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in auto accidents than older, more experienced motorists. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that, per mile traveled, teens have a greater crash risk than people in every other age group, save elderly drivers. Compared to other motorists, teens also are more likely to experience fatal crashes that are attributed to driver error.

Some of these accidents may occur because teens lack experience and aren’t yet as competent at driving. Sadly, though, a new study suggests that negligent behaviors on the part of teens may also be a significant factor in their high accident rates. According to this research, a large proportion of teens engage in speeding and other forms of aggressive driving that can greatly raise the risk of accidents.

What is aggressive driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration broadly defines aggressive driving as traffic offenses that pose a threat to other people or property. Materials from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee list the following acts as examples of aggressive driving:

  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs
  • Weaving between lanes or making unsafe lane changes
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right of way

Speeding is another prevalent form of aggressive driving. Motorists who fail to observe posted speed limits or travel at prudent speeds, given road and traffic conditions, can both be considered aggressive drivers.

How common is teen aggressive driving?

The new study, which was based on a survey from Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions, suggests that many teenagers drive aggressively. According to KRQE News, an alarming 73 percent of the teenage survey participants reported speeding. Additionally, 36 percent of these teens admitted to engaging in aggressive driving behaviors. Since some teens may have chosen not to report risky driving behaviors, these figures may even under-represent the problem.

Past research from the IIHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports these findings. The IIHS states that nearly one-third of fatal teen car accidents are speed-related, which suggests that speeding is a prevalent problem for teens. The CDC, meanwhile, notes that behaviors such as speeding and tailgating are significantly more common among teens than other drivers.

Troublingly, the new study also suggests that parents are often unaware of their children’s dangerous driving habits. Just 38 percent of the parents surveyed suspected that their teen drivers sped. Additionally, only 16 percent of the parents thought that their teens engaged in aggressive driving behaviors. This lack of awareness on the part of parents may make it easier for teens to continue endangering others with reckless and unnecessary behaviors.

Addressing aggressive driving accidents

Sadly, when teens drive aggressively, they can cause significant harm to other road users. Statistics suggest that serious auto accidents involving negligent teen drivers may harm many people in Missouri this year. According to data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, in 2014 alone, teens were involved in over 13,000 accidents, which resulted in 139 deaths and thousands of injuries. If the recent study findings are accurate, teens may be at fault in many of these accidents.

In these situations, injury victims may have legal recourse. However, proving that an accident occurred because another driver engaged in aggressive or otherwise reckless driving behaviors may be difficult. Consequently, victims may want to consider consulting with a personal injury attorney for advice on documenting the accident and making a claim.