How to Deal with Inexperienced Driver and Teen Driving Accidents
Young and reckless, two words that are often used to describe teenagers. When it comes to driving accidents, these two words ring true. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,082 teen drivers were involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash in 2016 alone. The same study also states that in the same year, 58 percent of passenger fatalities of 15 to 18-year-old drivers were not wearing their seat belts during the time of the crash. It is worrying that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. As a matter of fact, 16 and 17-year-old drivers have the highest crash rates out of all the age groups.
Specific to Michigan, 21 percent of the 32,143 fatal accidents between 2011 and 2015 involved a driver under the age of 21. However, only 6.6 percent of the state’s licensed drivers are under 21. According to the Office of the Highway Safety Planning 2015 fact sheet, these are all the factors that increase crash risk for young drivers:
- Risk-taking behavior
- Greater risk exposure
Teenagers are inexperienced drivers. This is why it is critical for parents to be involved with young drivers during the first six months of unsupervised driving. This is the time when they have to master how to effectively search for potential risks on the road, one of the reasons why newly licensed drivers tend to get involved in a crash.
The American culture tends to view teens as young adults when scientifically speaking, the area of the brain that manages logic and reasoning develops earlier than the area that regulates impulse and emotion. Simply speaking, teens do not yet have the full capacity to control their emotions and impulses. This just goes to show that adults need to provide guidance and support.
When are Inexperienced Drivers at Risk?
The official website of Michigan’s Secretary of State identifies the following circumstances as the most dangerous for inexperienced drivers:
- At night – While driving at night can also be hazardous for anyone, it becomes more difficult for teenagers because they have less experience driving at this time as compared to during the day. Sleepiness, as well as alcohol, also add up to the risk.
- After drinking alcohol – Teenagers can be new to driving and drinking alcohol. This combination results in a higher crash risk at all bodily alcohol content levels compared to older drivers.
- With passengers – Other teenage passengers can serve as distractions to an inexperienced driver. They can encourage a teenage driver to take risks.
- When not wearing a seatbelt – Teenage drivers and passengers do not wear seatbelts as often as the older age groups. This puts them at risk of injury and fatality in case of a vehicle crash.
- When using a cell phone – Teenagers cannot put their phones down especially during this advent of social media. While all drivers are at higher risk when they are talking or texting, young drivers use their cell phones more often than their older counterparts.
Most Common Safety Problems for Inexperienced Drivers
- Risk Factors – A teenager may see their license as their passport to freedom. A parent always has to remember that a teen is not ready to have the same level of driving responsibility as adults.
- Distracted Driving – One in three teens has admitted to texting while driving. Research shows that dialing a phone number while driving increases an inexperienced driver’s risk of crashing by six times. On the other hand, texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times. Apart from using their cell phones, teenage drivers may also get distracted through different ways such as eating their breakfast on the way to school, drinking their coffee or even applying makeup.
- Speeding – In 2016, speeding was a factor in 32 percent of the fatal crashes involving passenger vehicle teen drivers. Another study found out that a teen’s speeding behavior increases over time which might happen when they are gaining confidence.
- Drunk driving and drugs – Whether they are inside or outside a vehicle, drinking alcohol when you are under the age of 21 is illegal in every State. Teenage drivers should know that law enforcement officers will be able to test alcohol or illegal drugs in their system. They also need to know that many States have zero-tolerance laws when it comes to drunk-driving.
Let a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer Help You with Your Claim
Inexperienced driver accidents can be avoided with proper education and awareness. In the unfortunate event that you or your family member got involved in an accident involving a young driver, you will need a reliable and experienced lawyer. Call The Clark Law Office for a free consultation today or keep scrolling our website for testimonies from our past clients.