Inexperience Leads to Many Auto Accidents for Teen Drivers

Experienced Attorneys Serving Teen Drivers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

According to a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Indeed, each year, more than 2,100 teens aged 16-19 are killed in auto crashes on our nation’s roads and highways, and some 240,000 are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in those wrecks. Do the math: Nearly six teens between the age of 16 and 19 die every day in motor vehicle accidents. According to the CDC, many of those fatalities could have been avoided.

Financial Impact of Teen Auto Accidents is Huge

Statistically speaking, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up only 14 percent of the U.S. population. They account, however, for almost 30 percent – more than $26 billion – of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.

Inexperience Appears to Be a Key Factor

The number of teen deaths and injuries isn’t a factor of the number of miles driven. In fact, mile for mile, teens aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over the age of 20. As one might imagine, newly licensed teens are the most dangerous drivers of all.

Other Teen Risk Factors

The CDC identifies a number of other key risk factors, including:

  •  The driver’s sex. Among teens, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers is almost twice that of young women. One explanation: Young males are much more likely to be involved in under-age drinking than their female counterparts. Young males are also much more likely than older drivers to drive at an excessive speed.
  •  The presence of other teens in the vehicle. Whether “showing off” is a factor, or simply the distraction of having another teen in the car, the presence of other teens in the vehicle increases the crash risk for teen drivers. The more passengers in the car, the higher the risk.
  •  Seat belt use. In spite of the fact that teens are more likely than others to be involved in a car crash, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use. A recent CDC study indicated only 55 percent of high school students reported that they always wear seatbelts when riding with someone else. Of the teens (aged 13-20) who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2013, more than half were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Improvement in Recent Years With Graduated Driver Licensing Programs

As bad as some of these statistics are, the situation used to be even worse. In recent years, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted graduated driver licensing programs (GDLs) that limit teens’ ability to drive under high-risk conditions for newly licensed drivers. The programs generally require greater participation of parents in their teens’ learning-to-drive. Government research indicates that the more comprehensive the state GDL programs are, the greater the reductions in both teen fatalities and injuries.

The Rhode Island GDL program requires 3 levels of driving permits and licenses for new drivers aged 16-18. First, a 16 years old can get his or her Limited Instruction Permit after completing a driving course and passing the RI DMV exam. A Limited Instruction Permit is valid for one year, or until the teen reaches 18 years old, whichever comes first. During this time the young driver must complete 50 hours of driving experience with a supervising driver, including 10 hours at night. Upon application, the driver next receives a Limited Provisional License for 12 months. Finally, a Full Operator’s License may be obtained upon turning 18 and completing a road test. The theme of this entire process is adult supervision. Each stage requires the involvement of a parent, legal guardian, licensed foster parent or adult spouse. The Massachusetts GDL program requires a similarly graduated and supervised process for obtaining a Learner’s Permit and eventual full licensing for new 16-year-old drivers.

Involved in an Auto Crash?

Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto crash? If so, you deserve skillful, energetic, and experienced attorneys to help you prepare your case. The injury lawyers at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC have the resources to investigate the accident and fight to protect your legal rights. We will pursue your case at no cost until we win. Remember that delay can harm your case. Our experienced legal team is available 24/7 for a free consultation. Give us a call at 866-529-9700, or complete the convenient online contact form.