Teenage drivers have long been linked with an increased risk of being involved in a car accident, and when a collision does take place, it is likely that those teens will be injured. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 292,000 teenagers between ages 16 and 19 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries stemming from collisions in 2011 alone. Further, approximately 2,650 teens in that age group lost their lives due to traffic accidents.
If you are the parent of a teenager, you may be aware of these facts already. If your teen is getting ready to drive, you may have even taken steps to ensure they receive a proper driver’s education, obtain the necessary behind-the-wheel experience, and you may have even set ground rules for your teens regarding their conduct in a vehicle. But if you are not a parent or do not have teenagers in your home, are teen car accidents something that you should worry about?
Unfortunately, the actions of teenage motorists can affect anyone on the road – not simply those who are inside a teen’s vehicle. This makes it critically important that every driver, passenger, and even pedestrian in the greater Phoenix area be aware of the issues associated with teenage drivers and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary.
First, teens are inexperienced operators of cars and can become easily overwhelmed by challenging traffic situations. Without the years of driving that an average motorist has, teens are less likely to appreciate changing traffic patterns and typically take longer to make crucial decisions. When you consider that an accident can happen in a fraction of a second, it is easy to understand why any delay in appreciating and/or reacting to a hazard can be problematic.
Secondly, teens tend to exhibit dangerous behavior that is linked to a greater likelihood of collisions or injuries more often than many older drivers. Among all motorists, teenagers have the lowest rate of seat belt use and they have a high rate of impaired or drunk driving. Further, teens are likely to be distracted while they operate through the use of a cell phone, a conversation with a passenger, or even the radio in their car. When teens are distracted, they pay less attention to other vehicles in the area and are more likely to cause a crash.
Teens also speed more than older drivers and as speed has been linked to nearly one out of every two American car accidents, that factor alone is a reason to be weary of younger drivers.
So what can a driver to do limit their risk of car accidents involving teenagers? If you have teens in your house, the most important thing you can do is to provide them with a quality, thorough education regarding driving and all the risks and dangers associated with it. Doing so will instill the responsibility that comes with operating a car and will make teens aware that their actions affect not only themselves but also innocent people in nearby vehicles. Experts also suggest limiting the conditions under which teenagers can drive and enforcing all local laws regulating teen motorists. For example, if your teenager has a graduated driver’s license, know that Arizona law places restrictions on that license for the first six months if your teen is under 18 years old. Follow those restrictions and do not let your teen drive with multiple teenage passengers, during late night hours, or in another manner that violates the law.
If you do not have a teen in your house, you have less control to prevent crashes. However, driving defensively can increase your safety on the road as can limiting the distractions you face behind the wheel. In general, operate your car like every other motorist is new to driving so that you will be prepared for negligent actions on the part of others, enabling you to take evasive action if necessary to avoid a crash.
If you were hurt in a car accident that involved a teenage driver and your collision took place in Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Mesa, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you realize your rights and your options for obtaining the relief that you deserve.
The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. offers a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to those victims who call us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191. We keep an attorney standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with you and everything discussed during the case consultation will be kept confidential. If we represent you in your case, we will not charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf, so please contact us today and let us fight for your rights.
Prior Blog Entry:
How Can I Maximize My Personal Injury Recovery?, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 13, 2015.