Auto Accidents and Teens: Elevated Risk Factors
By Younker Hyde Macfarlane on March 12, 2014
Like most skills, driving is safer when more experienced drivers are behind the wheel. Therefore, newer drivers - usually teenagers - are especially prone to making mistakes. Amid distractions, negligence, and failure to practice safe driving, teens are statistically more likely than any other age group to cause injury to themselves or others on the road. You have probably witnessed the occasional poor driving skills or habits of others, but these occurrences may not make a lasting impression unless they result in an accident. If you have been harmed by hazardous driving or would like to investigate the specifics of an auto accident case in Salt Lake City or the state of Utah, our personal injury attorneys are ready to assist you. Hopefully, though, by spreading the right information and awareness, such accidents can be avoided altogether.
Teens and Reckless Driving
Teenagers are often believed to have a mentality of being invincible, thus leading to their disregard for common traffic laws. Although this belief tends to be overestimated, as there are multiple factors behind teenagers’ auto accidents, there is some truth to it. Some estimates suggest that two-thirds of all auto accidents in Utah are caused by aggressive driving such as speeding, tail-gaiting, or driving through a red light. These actions are particularly prevalent in teens, who are less likely to obey every traffic law, whether through blatant disregard or lack of awareness.
When a traffic violation is deemed especially dangerous by a court, the motorist may be charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving not only results in more points on a license, but also a criminal record. If someone is injured due to the reckless driving of another individual, that person has a strong case for establishing wrongdoing and seeking a resolution through the help of experienced auto accidental attorneys.
The Dangers of Distraction
In Utah, texting while driving is illegal, and for a good reason: drivers who are distracted are significantly more likely to cause an accident. For the average driver, distractions in the car are bad enough, resulting in about 20 percent of all accidents. But for teens, the danger is exponentially worse. Consider the following statistics:
- Teens are 23 times more likely to cause an accident if they are texting
- One-third of all high school students nationwide have texted while driving
- Nearly half of all teens admit to being in a car while the driver was texting
- 56 percent of teens admit to talking on a cell phone while driving
- Teens are disproportionately represented in the number of fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving
Of course, not all distractions come in the form of a cell phone. Simply having friends in the car or listening to music can be enough to pull one’s attention from the road. By having one friend in the car, a teen driver’s risk of getting in an accident doubles. With two friends or more, this risk triples.
Teens and Impaired Driving
Considering that teenagers should not be consuming alcohol in the first place, it is that much more frightening to consider the possibility of a teen driving under the influence. Unfortunately, this is a reality that has escalated the number of auto accidents and fatalities:
- In 2010, 22 percent of teens involved in fatal motor accidents had been drinking
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, with 25 percent of these deaths caused by an intoxicated teen driver
- On average, 33 percent of people will be involved with a drunk driving crash at some point
Utah is considered a zero-tolerance state in regard to underage drinking and driving. If a teen driver shows a BAC level above 0.00 percent, he or she may receive imprisonment, a fine of 700 dollars or more, and/or license suspension on the first offense.
Have You Been Hurt in an Auto Accident?
The tragedy of injury from an auto accident is made even worse by the knowledge that someone was engaging in reckless behavior. At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, we want to help you gain the closure you deserve. Contact one of our attorneys to schedule an appointment with us so that we may assess your case.
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