Although distracted driving constitutes a serious safety issue regardless of the age of the motorists, inexperienced teen drivers who multitask behind the wheel pose an especially serious risk to other motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving claims the lives of an average of eight people each day in the United States. During a recent one-year period, distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,800 people and resulted in injury to 400,000 more. While drivers of all ages engage in distracted driving, younger drivers tend to pose the greatest risk of causing a distracted driving accident.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillances System (TYRBSS), which tracks risky behavior patterns among high school students, reveals that 39 percent of students surveyed admitted driving while using their phone to text or email within a month of participating in the recent survey. Approximately a quarter of all drivers between the ages of 20-29 who were involved in a fatal crash were between the ages of 20-29 according to the NHTSA. The agency also reports that teen drivers (age 15-19) are even more likely to be distracted behind the wheel. Tragically, approximately 8 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were distracted at the time of the collision.
Distracted teen drivers pose an even more serious threat because they often engage in other forms of unsafe driving conduct while multi-tasking behind the wheel. The riskiest practices that accompany distracted teen driving include the following:
- Lack of seatbelt use
- Alcohol-impaired driving
- Tendency to speed
- Climbing in the car with an alcohol-impaired motorist
Along with the tendency to engage in other unsafe driving practices, teen drivers also face a higher risk of being involved in a distracted driving collision because of their inexperience behind the wheel. Teen drivers face the disadvantages of inexperience, immaturity, and undeveloped driving skills.
The magnitude of the risk to young inexperienced drivers multi-tasking behind the wheel can hardly be overstated. According to one study dialing a number on a cellular phone increases a teen driver’s risk of being involved in a crash by 6 times while texting behind the wheel increases this threat by a staggering 23 times. When drivers take their eyes off the road for five seconds to send or review a text while traveling 55 mph, the act has been compared to driving with your eyes closed while traveling with your eyes closed as the vehicle travels a distance equivalent to a football field.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or you have lost a family member in an accident caused by a distracted driver, a knowledgeable distracted driving accident attorney can explain your legal rights and how to pursue a claim for damages.
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