Unfortunately, car, truck, and motorcycle accidents continue to be the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States. Exactly how bad are the numbers?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a person’s crash risk is at its highest during their first year of driving, and teens aged 14-19 represented nearly 75% of all crashes that resulted in death.
Statistics on Indiana drivers also reveal disturbing facts. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) reported in 2012 that Indiana’s drivers under the age of 21 were involved in more than 40,000 accidents on our highways, interstates, and rural roads.
Boulton Law Group continues to consult with parents across Indiana following auto accidents involving teen drivers. Unfortunately, a number of these crashes involve traumatic injuries and/or wrongful death lawsuits.
What are the biggest risks to teen drivers?
Our law firm’s crash investigations have revealed a wide-ranging cause of teen accidents, involving everything from common problems such as sun glare to the unexpected of a spider being in the car!
However, there are a large set of general risks that continually prove to be leading factors in teen crashes, including:
As expected, a lack of experience with driving tops the list. Teens simply do not have the number of hours behind the wheel that is needed to account for the dangers that await them on the road.
In addition to the training and instruction teen drivers receive in Drivers Education, it is critical that the teaching not stop there. Parents and other more experienced drivers should continue to ride and talk with teen drivers to further monitor their driving habits and ensure that they are practicing safe driving techniques.
Adding passengers to a car or truck driven by a teenage driver is understandably a cause for concern with parents. We have witnessed a number of accidents involving young drivers who were driving their friends and encountered unexpected trouble on the roads.
One of the more recent and tragic examples occurred on State Road 37 that ended in the deaths of four Brownsburg teenagers and leaving another teen passenger with injuries that required hospitalization. According to WISH TV, the teen driver had crossed over the median and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on.
It is critical that teen drivers be highly attentive when traveling with other teen passengers.
Some of the steps that can help to ensure everyone’s safety includes not playing music at loud levels; making sure that passengers are not distracting the driver with talk or physical contact; not overcrowding the vehicle, and turning off all mobile devices.
Driving at night presents a unique set of challenges to experienced drivers, so a teen driver is sure to face an increased risk as daylight fades.
Teen drivers may have an especially difficult time with depth perception, the glare from other drivers’ headlights, debris or animals in the roadway, or psychological apprehension about driving at night.
Unbuckled Seat Belts
Seat belt use is non-negotiable. They must be used by teen drivers and their passengers every time with no exception.
Research has proven time and time again that seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries. In fact, studies show that using a seat belt can reduce traumatic and fatal injuries by nearly 50%.
According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), of teenagers aged 16-19 who suffered fatal injuries in a vehicle crash, 48% were not wearing seat belts.
As mobile phones, in-dash screens, and other devices continue to persist, distracted driving remains a leading factor in fatal traffic accidents and crashes involving serious injuries.
The answer to this problem remains simple: 100% of a teen driver’s focus should be on the road.
Whether driving for too long without rest, or not getting enough rest prior to driving, drowsy driving is a known peril among teen drivers.
For example, it is not uncommon to hear of stories involving Indiana teen drivers falling asleep or dozing off while driving to or from spring break destinations or during activities related to prom season, etc.
Teen drivers can underestimate how quickly and easily a person can fall asleep behind the wheel, leaving themselves and others at serious risk.
Unfortunately, a large number of our accident investigations involving teen drivers reveal speeding, risk-taking, or some other reckless act as the main or contributing factor to a serious auto accident.
And the odds of reckless driving could potentially increase if teens have friends in their car, so it is critical that they understand engaging in inappropriate behavior while in a vehicle could lead to lifelong consequences.
Alcohol or other illicit substances continue to be an unfortunate cause in a number of Indiana teen-related accidents.
In addition to breaking the law, teenage drivers that choose to drive under the influence not only put themselves at great risk, but they also pose a serious danger to other drivers sharing the road with them.
Was your teen involved in a car accident?
Being a parent to teens himself, attorney Boulton is especially sensitive to accidents involving teen drivers.
The number of accident stories in Indiana that involve teen drivers is a constant reminder that our children will face serious risks and important decisions every time they get behind the wheel.
No matter the details or liability surrounding your teen’s accident, Boulton Law Group offers a Zero Fee Guarantee for parents who are seeking advice. This means that you will never be charged a consultation fee, and our firm receives nothing for its legal services until a recovery is made on your behalf.
To speak to attorney Boulton direct, call 317-350-2680, or write to us using our confidential contact form.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.