Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen fatalities in the United States. Every year, an estimated 5,000 teens die and approximately 400,000 are severely injured. When comparing statistics to those for adults, the risk of a collision is four times greater for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19. Lack of experience and maturity are largely to blame for the high rate of collisions among teens. Additionally, misinterpreting or underestimating the risks involved with certain driving behaviors can lead to hazardous choices.
Teen males are particularly susceptible to motor vehicle accidents. In fact, statistics show that young males are over one and-a-half times more likely to die in a crash than females. To lower these statistics, it is essential for parents to educate their teens on common causes of teen crashes. By stressing the importance of utilizing safe driving practices, and the consequences of risky behaviors, you can help reduce the number of serious accidents involving teenage drivers.
About one-third of fatal teen car accidents involve speeding. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute interviewed teen focus groups across the country. The majority of those polled considered speeding to be “over 10 miles above the speed limit,” and more than half admitted to regularly speeding. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that teen speeding fatalities were up from 30% in 2000 to 33% in 2012. Many agencies, such as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, are concerned that the recent focus on teens and distracted driving has taken attention away from working to decrease teenage speeding accidents.
Drinking and Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that one in 10 high school teens drinks and drives. When the CDC surveyed high school students over the age of 16, a substantial number of students admitted to driving while under the influence at least once within the past 30 days. Although teenage drinking and driving has decreased by 54% since 1991, approximately 85% of those polled reported binge drinking (having five or more drinks) within two to three hours before driving. Perhaps the most common form of teenage rebellion, exploration, and peer pressure, teen drinking and driving greatly influences the high rate of car accidents involving young people in the United States.
The CDC reports that an estimated 55% of teenage motor vehicle fatalities in 2012 were not wearing a seatbelt. In the event of an accident, the use of seatbelts reduces the risk of death or serious injury by approximately half. Unfortunately, with a sense of immortality, a tendency to rebel against authority, and an onslaught of misinformation approximately 20% of teens refuse to wear seatbelts. In a poll conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the main reason teens choose not to buckle up is because they thought seat belts were “potentially harmful.”
In a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, actual footage from thousands of teen accidents revealed that drivers were distracted a quarter of the time behind the wheel. Researchers calculated a 400% increase in distraction from previous studies by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Multitasking in the form of texting, emailing, and downloading music were common causes. Other teen passengers also add to the level of distraction. Statistics show that the presence of each additional passenger increases the risk of a serious car accident.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Greater Boston’s Car Accident Lawyers
The teenage years can be an exciting time of new experiences and a growing sense of freedom. However, the impact of speeding, drinking, and distracted driving on public roadways can be devastating. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a reckless driver, you may be dealing with overwhelming medical expenses, lost wages, and life-altering physical challenges. At Altman & Altman LLP, our experienced team of attorneys is committed helping you obtain the compensation you deserve so that you can get on with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation at one of our offices in Cambridge, Boston, and Salem.