As soon as kids hit their teen years, things start to change. They have so much to look forward to—high school, new friends, and getting into PG-13 movies. But the ultimate goal is set at age 16—the age that most kids get their license. There is nothing like being out on the road by yourself for the first time. Being 16 is being free and careless, just hanging with your friends and having fun. However, as most know and have experienced, teenagers cruising into their freedom often turns to cruising right into another vehicle.
Unfortunately, teenagers are almost at the top of the list of risks on the roadway. Their carefree and fun-loving attitudes don’t always relate well with their driving responsibilities. Their attention isn’t as centered because they have passengers, cell phones, and music blaring from the stereo. The facts are shocking and, for teenagers, hard to grasp.
A teenager’s risk of crashing is doubled when just one passenger is with them. When any more passengers are present, the risk goes up to four and five times. On top of that, 40% of teen drivers admit to texting while operating the vehicle. There is also the speeding factor. Of all the car accidents this year, 39% of male drivers and 26% of female drivers were speeding at the time of their fatal crash.
The statistics get even more unsettling when alcohol is brought into the picture. Underage drinking happens daily, and it makes its way into the car and onto the road as well. A remarkable 25% of fatal crashes involved alcohol abuse. Wearing a safety belt can reduce the risk of death in a crash by up to 50%. However, two out of three teens in fatal accidents lost their lives because they were not wearing their safety belt.
Measures have been taken, including the development of graduated driver licensing programs, to help educate young drivers about the dangers on the road and to reduce risk-taking behavior. However, 15-to-20-year-olds are still involved in fatal car accidents at an alarming rate. The NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts: Fatal Crashes Involving Young Drivers report listed the following unsettling statistics regarding auto accidents and young people:
- Young people, ages 15 to 20, made up 9 percent of the population in the United States and accounted for 6 percent of the licensed drivers in 2007. Yet, 19 percent of all the traffic deaths in the United States in 2007 were associated with young drivers.
- Nearly two-thirds of the individuals killed in car accidents involving young drivers were the young drivers themselves or their passengers.
- Sixty-seven percent of the passengers killed in vehicles driven by young drivers were in the same 15-to-20-year-old age bracket.
- Fifty-seven percent of the deaths involving young drivers and 56 percent of the fatal accidents happened on rural roads.
If You Are Injured
Irresponsible teens are loose canons. Everyone should take extra care on the road knowing that reckless people are out there, especially teens. If you are a victim of a negligent teen driver, contact an experienced Santa Monica car accident attorney at Steinberg Injury Lawyers Injury Lawyers at (800) 989-6385 for a free legal consultation. Get the compensation you deserve.
Be sure to order a FREE copy of our report, Distracted Teen Driving- A Guide & Contract for Parents.