How To Bring Down Indiana’s High Rate Of Fatal Teen Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are a danger to anyone, but especially so for teenagers in Indiana. As WISH-TV recently reported, the state last year ranked higher than any other for the rate of car accidents that lead to teenager fatalities. In response to such a grim distinction, efforts have been underway this year to make the roads safer for teenagers, including toughening distracted driving laws and offering more driver education programs to young motorists. Supporters of these changes say they are necessary not only in order to reduce teenager-involved accidents, but to also instill good lifelong driving habits in people at an early age.
Distracted driving ban
Teenagers are more likely to be involved in an accident caused by distracted driving than any other age group. That fact is likely why new road rules that went into effect in July 2015 target cellphone use among teenage drivers. As the Elkhart Truth reports, the new law bans drivers under 21 from using a cellphone while behind the wheel. The ban even applies to using GPS and hands-free devices. The only exception is for dialing 911 in case of an emergency.
For people over 21, state law currently only prohibits texting and driving and some people support expanding a total ban on cellphone use while driving to all motorists. However, supporters of the most recent change point out that banning cellphone use among young drivers will hopefully instill good driving behaviors in those drivers that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Efforts to bring down fatal accidents involving teenagers are not limited to banning cellphones. Another change to the law also bans drivers who are under 21 from driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the first 180 days after they have received their license. For drivers under 18, even after the 180-day period ends they are still prohibited from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. between Sunday and Thursday and between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Additionally, there has been an increased effort at educating young drivers about safe driving. Drivers who have taken a driver’s education course will be able to get their license sooner after their 16th birthday and driving simulation programs are being offered for free by a number of organizations to teach teenagers about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.
Driving safely should be a priority for everybody, no matter their age. Sadly, as the high number of crashes caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers show, safety isn’t the first thing on every motorist’s mind. Anybody who has been hurt because of a distracted or negligent driver should get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away. Financial compensation may be necessary for accident victims during their recovery process and an attorney can help such victims understand what sort of compensation may be available.