Fatal teen car accidents increase for the first time in ten years
Learning to drive is a rite of passage for teenagers across the United States. As teenagers experience their newfound freedom on the roads, parents are more likely to be experiencing stress and anxiety. These feelings are often warranted, as younger, more inexperienced drivers are more likely to get into car accidents.
While teen drivers are more likely to get into accidents, there was a positive trend in teen driving over much of the last decade. From 2005 to 2014, teen-related car accident deaths decreased each year. While every death is a tragedy, there is no question that the overall trend was pointing in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the number of teen-related traffic deaths increased 10% from 2014 to 2015. Furthermore, overall traffic deaths increased dramatically in the first six months of 2016. Given this trend, it is likely that deaths caused by teen drivers will also increase in 2016.
Why are teen driver deaths on the rise?
The Governor’s Safety Highway Association recently published a study, titled Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter. This study outlined some of the positive and negative trends in teen driving. While the study did pinpoint exact causes for the increase, theories include:
- Teen drivers make up a greater percentage of drivers overall.
- Many teens don’t get proper rest. In fact, only 30 percent of teenagers claim to get enough sleep each night.
- Teens who text or use smartphones behind the wheel are more likely to be in accidents.
One proposal that could minimize the number of teen driver crashes would be greater use of graduated drivers’ licenses (GDLs). Many states place restrictions on teen drivers. For instance, in Indiana, teen drivers cannot drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. within their first 180 days of earning their license.
New Jersey has a particularly stringent GDL law, as drivers under the age of 21 cannot drive during late night hours. Since enacting this law, New Jersey has seen teen drivers cause accidents. Whatever steps are taken, drivers of all ages must take appropriate measures to drive safely.
If you or someone you love has been harmed in a car accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer will be critical in helping you recover full compensation for your medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. I am Indianapolis personal injury attorney Steve Crell. For decades I have provided aggressive, intelligent legal representation to injured people across the area.