Automobile accidents claim the lives of close to 2,400 teens (13-19) per year while over 250,000 more suffer injuries serious enough for a visit to the emergency room. Teen accident rates are nearly four times those of adult drivers. These troubling numbers leave out a large portion of the victims involved in teen driving accidents. Teen driving statistics often focus only on the teen victims while the other drivers and passengers in these collisions also frequently suffer debilitating and even fatal injuries. If you are injured in a collision caused by a teenage driver, a teen driving accident attorney can explain your rights and legal remedies along with issues closely associated with these kinds of collisions.
The relatively high rate of teen driving accidents has been linked to several specific risk factors. Inexperience behind the wheel and with alcohol constitute the most significant factors contributing to teen accidents. Teens have less experience responding to roadway emergency situations. Because teenagers also lack experience with alcohol, they have less of a sense of when they have imbibed too much alcohol to drive safely. The importance of this dual inexperience is reflected in data revealing that drinking ANY quantity of alcohol increases accident risks among teens as opposed to more senior drivers.
Several other of the most important risk factors that increase the risk of teen collisions include the following:
- Teen Passengers: Teens do not appear to handle the distraction of passengers as well as older motorists. Once study found that 16- and 17-year-olds risk of being in a collision rises by 44 percent when transporting a passenger under the age of 21. This risk of accident doubles when two passengers under 21 ride in the vehicle. With three or more passengers, this risk increases by 400 percent.
- Driving after Dark: The lack of visibility associated with nighttime driving also contributes to many car accidents involving teen drivers. Teens with an inflated sense of invulnerability that naturally accompanies youth may underestimate their ability to drive at higher speeds even during times of limited visibility.
- Distracted Driving: A Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute study found that nearly 4 in 10 teen drivers reported using their phone to email or text behind the wheel. The study also revealed that that teen study participants knew that using a cell phone while driving was dangerous, but they elected to engage in the behavior anyway. Although the widespread tendency of teens to engage in text messaging has made cell phones a major public safety issue. Teen drivers also tend to lose their focus when attempting to engage in other forms of multi-tasking behind the wheel, such as adjusting the car’s audio system, eating or drinking, grooming, reading, watching a video, and more.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a teen driving accident, an experienced teen driving accident lawyer can sort through potentially difficult issues of insurance coverage. While the teen might be covered on his or her parent’s policy, your attorney can help you identify all potential coverage and examine the potential liability of the driver’s parents.
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