Obtaining your driver’s license is an important milestone in life. Most of us remember feeling excited about our new-found freedom, and those of us who are parents know how it feels to fret about our teen’s safety behind the wheel. Teens today face greater challenges when it comes to driving due to advances in technology.
The advent of smartphones, along with social media apps and texting, create opportunities for distracted driving. At the same time, advances with in-car technologies help ease parental worries by providing helpful tools for young drivers. Even the latest technology is no guarantee, however, of avoiding an accident.
If you or your teen are injured due to the careless behavior of a teen driver, contact Sibley Dolman’s North Miami personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
Crashes are still the leading cause of teen deaths and nearly half of all teens will be involved in a car accident before graduating high school. Driver inexperience, mixed with the issues listed below, make teen driving a real risk to themselves and to other drivers:
Distracted driving. According to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving accounted for 58 percent of 1,700 teen crashes. Additionally, Liberty Mutual and Students Against Drunk Driving found that 90 percent of teens admitted to talking on the phone while behind the wheel and 78 percent admitted to texting.
Consider these statistics: A teen is six times more likely to crash while dialing a phone number and 23 times as likely to crash while texting. Apps like Cellcontrol allow parents to prevent texting while the car is in motion. AAA research also found that music, driving with passengers, and eating accounted for 37 percent of teenage distracted driving accidents.
Speeding. Speeding remains a problem among teen drivers. In fact, speed was a factor in 32 percent of fatal accidents involving teen drivers during 2016. Studies find that teens are less likely to speed in the family vehicle than their own car.
Lack of seatbelts. Seatbelt use is the lowest among teens. Recent data shows that of 818 teen drivers and 569 teen passengers killed in vehicles driven by teens, 58 percent of the teen passengers were not wearing seatbelts.
Drunk driving and drugs. Just how serious is underage drinking and driving? It is so serious that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that teens are more likely than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related crash. Despite a legal drinking age of 21 throughout the nation, 16 percent of 15-18-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had been drinking. Drugs also impair teen drivers, whether they are prescription or illicit. It is important to talk with your teen regarding the dangers of driving under the influence—and the dangers of riding with an impaired driver.
In addition to causing a fatality or serious injury, a DUI accident charge has a serious impact on a teen’s future. Depending upon the circumstances, the teen may lose future scholarships or denied acceptance to the college of their choice. One night of a bad decision after a high school football game can lead to an uncertain future for your teen.
While you want to protect your teens, you must also recognize their need for independence. Having a teen driver in the home has its advantages too, as they can assist with errands and possibly work a part-time job. New technologies in the automobile industry provide extra protection for inexperienced drivers. Some of these new technologies include:
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recommends the following four factors in choosing the right car for your teen:
Vehicle safety ratings are high. The IIHS suggests learning more about vehicle safety ratings by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.
The IIHS lists the following vehicles among the best when it comes to vehicles for teens. These cars list for under $20,000.
An accident involving a teen driver can happen anywhere, at any time. When a teen is driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they place not only themselves but their passengers and other drivers at risk. With proper guidance, instruction, and monitoring many teens develop into responsible drivers.
Safety measures and safe cars can only do so much in protecting your teen and those around them. Continue helping your teen with their driving skills long after they receive their license. It is equally important to remind them that driving is a privilege, that accidents cause serious injury and sometimes death, and that criminal charges occur for serious infractions.
If you have been seriously injured due to a teen driver’s negligence or if your teen has been seriously injured—or tragically killed—while riding with another teen, call (305) 676-8154 or contact Sibley Dolman online to schedule a free consultation. While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Time is of the essence, so don’t delay. The sooner an attorney can review your case, the sooner you can decide upon the best course of action.
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