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Getting a driver’s license for a teenager can feel like that first glorious step towards their long awaited freedom and independence. It’s perfectly normal for a young, inexperienced driver to feel eager and want to jump into their new car and finally explore their world in a totally new way. But the potential for injury or even death can be quite high if they’re not ready for the responsibility.
In challenging situations, driver inexperience can quickly become negligence, or worse, recklessness. Even in fairly straightforward situations, driver inexperience is essentially the primary cause for car accidents involving teen drivers. There are several reasons as to why that is, yet they’re all pretty easy to understand. Teenagers, for the most part, have much shorter attention spans and are easily distracted. Whether it’s a text message, a negative reaction to a social media post, or a brand new posting by their favorite blogger, teens’ eyes seem more focused on their phones than on what’s going on around them.
On top of that, as brand new drivers, teens are essentially learning everything there is to know about driving for the very first time. Reaction times are slower, dangers may not be as apparent, and a false sense of confidence may create an inaccurate perception of road conditions.
This evidence, while thus far anecdotal, all points to a tragic and very tangible conclusion: driver inexperience is the leading cause of deaths amongst teens in the United States.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,333 teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in car crashes as recently as 2015. That figure roughly translates into about 6 teens dying every day from car accidents. It’s not just deaths either. In 2016, 292,742 teen drivers required emergency room treatment for serious injuries sustained in car crashes.
To put these figures into perspective, consider the fact that people in the 15-19 age group account for only 7% of the U.S. population, yet they accounted for 11% of all motor vehicle injuries in the country. And to put things into quantifiable terms, which absolutely anyone can understand, teen related car crashes accounted for $13.6 billion (8.4%) of the accumulated costs of all motor vehicle injuries in the United States.
We’ve discussed a few reasons why teen drivers are at a greater risk than the average driver for being involved in a car crash, particularly while they’re still learning the in’s and out’s of safe driving. Below are three common teen behaviors that put teens at an even greater danger behind the wheel:
Driving Under the Influence
It’s common sense that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a poor decision. When you combine the effects of a mind altering substance with an inexperienced teen driver, you can imagine the likelihood of something catastrophic happening. A quarter of all traffic related deaths involving a teen driver were caused by drinking and driving. Due to peer pressure or other factors, teens are more likely to remain in a vehicle with an intoxicated friend. A teen might recognize the danger in driving with an alcohol impaired friend, yet he or she will choose loyalty over common sense in the majority of cases.
The rush of driving a vehicle may be just too much excitement for many inexperienced drivers. Reckless driving for fun is all too common, and many teens must endure the costs and consequences of a traffic ticket or two before they learn to calm things down behind the wheel. This isn’t just anecdotal evidence. Almost a quarter of all car accidents involving a teen driver are directly caused by speeding.
The vast majority of inexperienced drivers who engage in reckless driving are males. While studies show that both genders engage in reckless behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, poor lane changes, and running red lights, teenage boys are especially prone to noticeably more dangerous driving behaviors such as street racing or stunt driving.
Foregoing seat belts
It doesn’t take a great mind to know that seat belts significantly reduce the potential for serious injuries and fatal car accidents. But many inexperienced drivers often willingly ignore both the law and common sense behind seat belts. According to the CDC, barely half of all surveyed high school students said they wear their seat belts at all times.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s inexperience, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 213 927 3700 or email email@example.com. to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team