Once teenagers in New Jersey are on summer break, they will take the opportunity to drive to their summer job, go on dates, run errands for their parents or simply “cruise” with their friends. While these acts may seem innocent, they are quite dangerous. Teen drivers simply do not have the experience behind the wheel that older drivers have, and teens may be more apt to take risks while driving. The following are some reasons why teen drivers get into motor vehicle accidents.
Texting and driving
Teens are susceptible to distracted driving, especially texting and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, one-third of teenagers who text reported doing so while behind the wheel. Even dialing a phone number while behind the wheel increases the chance six times that your teen driver will cause a car accident. Texting and driving is even more dangerous. Texting and driving increases the chance 23 times that your teen driver will cause a car crash.
Disobeying the speed limit
Speed is often a factor in car crashes caused by teen drivers. In 2018, speeding played a role 28% of all deadly collisions involving a teen driver. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that in the time span from 2000 to 2011, 19,447 speed-related collisions involved a teen driver. And as teens grow more comfortable driving, their propensity to drive above the posted speed limit goes up.
Many teenagers experiment with alcohol or drugs, even though they cannot legally drink yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that teenagers are more apt than drivers of any other age to lose their life in a drunk driving accident. In 2018, 16% of teen drivers involved in deadly drunk driving accidents had consumed alcohol. Legal and illegal drugs can also impair one’s driving.
How can we prevent crashes caused by teen drivers?
Parents should talk to their teens about safe driving and should set a good example by driving safe themselves. However, teen drivers need to be held accountable for their reckless actions especially when these actions harm another individual. This may mean considering your legal options for compensation if you are injured in a crash caused by a teen driver.