Did you know that teenagers are more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other driver on the road? In fact, 16-year-olds are responsible for the largest percentage of traffic accidents in the United States. In 2016, 2,820 teens between the age of 13 and 19 were killed in traffic accidents across the country. Why are teens more likely to be involved in (and cause) traffic accidents? The accident attorneys at Citywide Law Group discuss the top five reasons teenage drivers get into car accidents.
Teens Are More Likely to Use Their Phones
It is hard to pry a smartphone away from a teenager. Unfortunately, this holds true while they are behind the wheel of a vehicle. Research from DoSomething.org found that 56 percent of surveyed teens admitted to talking on the phone while driving. The likelihood of being involved in a traffic accident skyrockets when the driver is distracted. In fact, using the phone while driving doubles the chances of being involved in an accident. Texting and talking on the phone, Snapchatting, and checking social media apps are incredibly common distracting behaviors in which teen drivers often engage.
Teens are Inexperienced Drivers
Even though a teenager may have demonstrated enough skill and knowledge to pass a road test, simply having a driver’s license does not mean that you’re an expert driver. Since teens have relatively little experience behind the wheel, they have not had the opportunity to learn about what it really means to be a safe driver. If a teen got their license very recently, they have not experienced driving in all seasons and weather conditions. Understanding how to maneuver a car and avoid sudden dangers is an important, but learned, aspect of driving.
Speeding is More Dangerous
Teens aren’t the only drivers who are likely to speed when they’re behind the wheel. However, when a teen’s inexperience is combined with driving at reckless speeds, the chances of being involved in a serious accident increase significantly. Teens, who are new to the thrill of driving, may want to impress friends or may be impatient and want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Statistics show that speed is a factor in approximately 35 percent of teenage car accidents.
Passengers Are Distracting
Many states restrict the number of passengers a teenage driver can have in the car at one time. These restrictions exist because teenagers have demonstrated that the more passengers that are in the car, the greater the chances of being in an accident. When there are other teens in the car, drivers may feel pressured to speed, use illicit drugs or alcohol, or engage in generally reckless behaviors.
Alcohol and Drug Use Are More Problematic
When teens first get their licenses they are exposed to an entirely new world. They have independence for the very first time and have the ability to engage in new things. Unfortunately, this includes drugs and alcohol. While teens are less likely to use alcohol than adults, they are more likely to experience the mind-altering effects of drugs and alcohol. This makes them a substantially greater risk behind the wheel. In 2016, 405 drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Only 49 (or 12 percent) of these teen drivers registered a blood alcohol concentration in excess .08 (the legal limit for adults). This reflects that any consumption of alcohol can put teens at a greater risk of harm when they operate a vehicle.
Do you know a teen who was injured in a car accident? Have you been injured by a teenage driver in Los Angeles? You may be entitled to monetary damages. Contact the car accident attorneys at Citywide Law Group today to request a free consultation and learn more.