Teenagers often feel that they get a bad rap. Blamed for everything from disrespect to petty theft, it seems that our young adults can do nothing right. However, while it is rather unfair to blame teenagers for all of our societal ills, when it comes to car accidents, it seems we do have legitimate cause for concern. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19. In this post, the Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau., explore the causes of auto accidents involving teens and explain how we as a society can help to cut down on these tragedies.
Teenage Accident Statistics
For years, legal experts have reported the same alarming news: hundreds of thousands of teenagers die in car accidents each year. According to the CDC, in 2010, approximately 2,700 teens were killed and another 282,000 received emergency medical care following car accidents. Teen drivers aged 16 to 19 face the highest risk, and they are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident than older drivers. Male drivers are twice as likely to be in an accident as female drivers in the same age group.
What Accounts for the High Accident Rates?
There are many factors contributing to the high number of accidents among teenagers. Inexperience is the first and most obvious cause. Even the most responsible, careful teens are not entirely comfortable with the various situations they encounter on the roadways. They may also not be able to recognize dangerous situations until it is too late. In fact, the accident rate among brand new drivers is particularly high. Studies show that one in five 16-year-olds will have an accident in their first year on the roads.
Of course, inexperience is not the only reason there are so many accidents among this age group. Speeding plays a huge factor in the equation. In 39 percent of all fatal accidents involving male drivers between ages 15 and 20, speed was a contributing factor. Distracted driving is also a concern. Over half of all teenagers use their phone while driving. Even those who keep their hands on the wheel are likely to be distracted; accident rates increase dramatically with the presence of teen passengers. Alcohol is also a top concern. The CDC reports that in 2010, 22 percent of fatal car crashes involved drinking and driving.
How Can We Prevent Teen Crashes?
Whether you are the parent of a teen, you have been injured by a teenage driver, or you simply want to help keep our roadways safe, your auto accident attorneys urge you to take action and help to reduce the number of teenage car accidents:
- Promote graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs - These programs are designed to keep teens from getting their licenses until they have gained enough on-the-road experience. Fortunately, Florida already has strict laws in place regarding the number of supervised driving hours a teenager must have before getting his or her license. However, the state grants full driving privileges to teens at an earlier age than many states. To push for more rigorous teen driving laws, contact your state representative.
- Set limits for your teen - While laws are certainly important, if you are the parent of a teen driver, house rules can be even more influential. Set strict guidelines about when your teen can drive, monitor cell phone use, and make sure they are getting enough sleep before they get behind the wheel.
- Set a good example - Of course, teens are more likely to drive recklessly if they see their parents or other adults practicing unsafe habits. Stay off the phone, follow the speed limit, and obey all traffic signals. Not only will you be setting a good example; you’ll be protecting yourself and others on the road at the same time.
Injured by a Teen Driver?
If you have been in an accident with a teen driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau to schedule your free consultation. They have successfully represented numerous auto accident cases and has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements for her clients.