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Teen Drivers Car Accidents

Teen Drivers Often are a Risk to Themselves and Others on the Road

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. When you consider hours spent on the road, teen drivers simply have not had enough practice to be classified as safe, experienced drivers. Most teenage drivers have been behind the wheel for only a few months or a couple of years at most. They lack the experience and judgment of an older driver with more years driving a car. “Older” in this case could mean someone only 20 years old, who would have as much as four years of driving experience over a newly licensed 16-year-old driver. Unfortunately, this lack of experience for teen drivers shows up in accident statistics.

The numbers support the claim that car accidents are one of the leading causes of teenage injury and casualties. According to federal statistics, in 2014, more than 1,700 drivers 15 to 20 years old died in traffic accidents. Another 170,000 young drivers were hurt in car crashes in 2014. The sad fact is, traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death for 15- to 20-year-olds. In 2014, nine percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were 15 to 20 years old, while such drivers made up only 5.5 percent of all licensed drivers. In 2013, people ages 15-19 were only 7 percent of the population, but accounted for 11 percent of the costs of motor vehicle injuries.

Driving is Dangerous, Especially for Young Drivers

Young drivers, especially those in their first few months of driving, are at an extremely high risk of being involved in an accident. In the first six months after a teen obtains a driver’s license, those newly licensed drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than drivers who have more experience. The risk drops once teens have more than six months of driving experience, but even then they are as much as three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers with more time behind the wheel.

A number of factors come into play to make teenagers more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. Those factors include:

  • Skills, which boils down to the ability to actually operate a motor vehicle from memory, without having to think about, for instance, how to use a turn signal, and the ability to recognize dangerous situations and understand how to react appropriately;
  • Knowledge of traffic laws; and
  • Maturity, including the ability to exercise reasoning, judgment, and decision making.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also has identified factors contributing to the high rate of traffic accidents among teen drivers. Approximately 75 percent of teen driver accidents result from:

  • Lack of attention to the road, including checking mirrors and blind spots frequently;
  • Driving too fast for conditions, including entering curves too fast and driving too fast to respond to external hazards presented by other drivers; and
  • Distractions, whether inside or outside of the vehicle. Distraction was a major factor in 58 percent of crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19 in 2013. Such distractions could include anything from adjusting temperature or sound system controls to talking on a cell phone, eating, or talking to other occupants of the vehicle.

The simple fact is that most newly licensed teen drivers just don’t have the skills and experience to be safe drivers. They have the ability to operate a motor vehicle, but not the experience to operate one safely. Combine that with the thrill of freedom to take to the road alone, and the mix is potentially deadly.

If You Have Been Injured in an Accident Involving a Teen Driver in the Miami Area, Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz

If you have been involved in an accident involving a teenaged driver in the Miami area, you should consult an attorney to determine what your rights are. It is possible that the other driver was negligent, and you may be able to recover for your injuries and damages.

The attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz can assist you in protecting your rights when you are involved in such an accident. You can reach us at (877) 475-2905 or through our website.

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