Sources of Distracted Driving Especially Among Teen Drivers
Across the country, motorists in the age group of 16-19 years are considered the riskiest with a fatal crash rate per mile that is 3 times as high as that of older drivers. The problem is that teen drivers account for a mere 6% of all motorists on American roads. But, teen drivers are responsible for a massive 12% of all fatal accidents caused by distracted driving.
Blame it on the fact that teens cannot be separated from their smart phones no matter what, or on their inexperience, the fact is that teenage motorists pose a threat to their own lives and to the lives of other drivers every time they take to the wheel. And this is not just an assumption, there are hard figures and research to back this claim.
Just how bad is the problem of accidents caused by teen drivers?
- Across the country, 6-10 teen motorists are killed every day in fatal accidents.
- In 2017, a whopping 300,000 teen drivers were treated in the ER for auto accident injuries.
- Motorists in the age group of 15-19 years are responsible for more than $13 billion in accident injury related medical costs.
- Nearly 300 people (non-teen motorists) were killed in accidents involving distracted teen drivers in 2017.
- In Kentucky alone, teen drivers were responsible for nearly 20,000 auto accidents of which, 59 were fatal collisions and over 3500 resulted in injuries.
Is it the age and the inexperience or something else?
When you glance at those figures, you are forced to mull over the question- Why this age group is responsible for a disproportionately higher number of accidents?
Undoubtedly inexperience plays a part in teen auto crashes; after all, new drivers are yet to learn the nuances of defensive driving. BUT, distraction plays a bigger role! And if statistics are to be believed, cell phones are the crux of the problem. For instance, in a 2013 Survey:
- Nearly 50% teen motorists said that they text more when alone in the car.
- Almost 60% reported texting their parents when driving.
- About 40% admitted that they do take their eyes off the road if they receive an app notification.
Add to this the fact that teenagers have the highest rate of cell phone use when driving among all motorists. The true danger of texting or using a cell phone in handheld mode when driving becomes apparent when you consider that:
- Teen motorists who use a handheld device while driving have a 400% greater risk of getting into an injury-causing accident.
- Using the cell phone in any way engages the visual, manual and cognitive abilities. The lack of focus this dangerous mix creates is enough to increase the accident risk of a motorists by 3 times.
- The capacity to react slows down to almost half of normal for motorists who text while driving. This explains why such drivers find it hard to maintain their speed, maintain safe distance and stay in their lane.
Other distractions and factors are just as dangerous!
If you think, taking away those cell phones or implementing heavy fines for cell phone usage when driving would be enough, think again. Other types of driving distractions are just as problematic.
- A teen driver with teen passengers: As if an inexperienced driver is not bad enough, add a bunch of frolicking teen passengers to the mix and what you have are distraction and risk levels that are going through the roof.
In fact, the risk of a teen motorist getting into a car crash is directly proportional to the number of teen passengers in the car. So, it comes as no surprise that over 50% of teenagers who died as passengers were being driven by a teen motorist.
- Alcohol: Driving while intoxicated is dangerous regardless of the age of the motorist. But when you combine the inexperience of teen drivers with intoxication, the risk of an accident, and a serious one at that, increases by several fold.
Yet, over 5% teen drivers reported driving drunk and about 20% said that they had no problem riding with a drunk motorists. Now consider the fact that almost 15% of teen motorists who were involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.08% or higher and it is easy to see that this is turning into a rampant problem.
- Disregard for safety measures: Couple alcohol, inexperience and the misconception of infallibility and what you get is a driver who does not give a second thought to the sensibility of using safety measures.
So, it is not surprising to know that 60% of teen motorists who were driving when drunk and were involved in a fatal crash were not wearing seat belts. Also, over 30% of them were speeding at the time of the accident.
- Peak time driving: To make matters worse, teen motorists tend to get out and about over the weekends and in the evening. These are peak driving hours when there are more cars, motorcycles and pedestrians on the road.
For an inexperienced driver, the traffic alone can prove to be unnerving. So, it is understandable why almost 40% fatal teen driver crashes occur after 9 pm and over half of all such accidents occur over the weekend.
Can a teenager be held legally responsible for a car crash he/she causes?
Every motorist shares the responsibility to keep the roadways safe for himself/herself as well as the other drivers and pedestrians, no matter what his/her age. The ugly truth is that teenagers do cause serious car accidents! Just because the driver on the other side is inexperienced does not mean your injuries are going to be any less severe or life altering.
Regardless of how young the at-fault motorist is, nobody has the right to torpedo the life of another individual by a moment’s callousness or negligence. The law recognizes this, as do insurance companies and so should you.
If you have been hurt in a car accident that involved a teenage driver, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation.
But there is a problem!
It’s not the teen motorist who will pay the damages; that will be the responsibility of his insurer. Unfortunately, almost everyone knows that insurance companies invest a lot of their resources in paying as little as they can.
So, it does not matter how just your demands for compensation are or how obvious the fault of the insured motorist is, they are not going to simply hand you a check. They will dispute your claim for damages; they will rip through your medical reports and they will try to play down the severity and life altering ramifications of your injuries.
Contact Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers and let us do the heavy lifting for you! Because our attorneys have decades of experience in handling personal injury cases, we know exactly how things work.
Our lawyers are well aware of every pressure tactic and negotiation trick used by insurers. We will make sure that you are never at a disadvantage. We also have a reputation for not backing away from a court trial, which sends across a clear message that your rights have to be upheld.
So, don’t let the negligence of a teen driver ruin your life and that of your family. The sooner you call the faster we can help you!