Why are there so many vehicular accidents involving teens during the summer?
During the “100 Deadliest Days” that begin with Memorial Day, 10 people die daily from a crash involving a teen driver. Much of this awful statistic has to do with the fact that teenagers are off from school in the summer. Their parents often give them more frequent access to family cars during this period because the weather is better and provides an illusion of relative safety.
Distracted Driving Is a Major Cause of Teen Crashes
A recent research study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has confirmed the truth that many of us suspected and feared: almost 50 percent of teen crashes were at least partially the result of distracted driving. Unexpectedly, however, the number one distraction for teens is not related to cell phone usage. Recording from 2,200 in-car dash cameras shows that the top three distractions for teen drivers are, in order of occurrence:
- Talking or attending to other passengers in the vehicle (15 percent of crashes).
- Using a cell phone to talk, text, or check for information (12 percent of crashes)
- Looking for, or at, something inside the vehicle (11 percent of crashes)
In the years between 2007 and 2015, it has been found that approximately 59 percent of crashes involved some variety of distracting behavior in the seconds leading up to the crash. Perhaps even more disturbing, government statistics show that 10 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported to be distracted at the moment of impact. This is a higher rate of distraction than for any other age group. Even worse, The AAA Foundation has reason to believe that driver distraction is greatly underreported.
Distracted Behavior Changes Haven’t Improved the Situation
Unfortunately, just as Bluetooth hands-free phone calls became available in cars, texting and using social media became a more popular means of communication for teens than talking on cell phones. Statistics now show that in the moments just preceding a crash, teens are more likely to be texting or looking down at their phones than speaking on them.
The more ubiquitous texting becomes among teens, the more dangerous the situation becomes. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting makes the risk of a vehicular crash 23 times higher than undistracted driving. Yet almost 50 percent of teen drivers admit to reading a text message or an email while driving during the last month!
Reports of young drivers observed manipulating hand-held devices in the years between 2007 and 2014 have increased fourfold according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is clearly not simply a problem for teens and their parents since teen drivers are just as likely injure, kill, or maim other drivers as themselves. Parents are advised to take any and all steps necessary to keep their teens from having cell phones available while they drive. Parents are also asked to discourage their youngsters from transporting many friends at once, eating, drinking, smoking, or grooming themselves while at the wheel.
We all know that, no matter how many precautions we take, accidents do happen, and all too often they cause personal injuries as well as property damage. If you have been injured due to the distracted driving or another type of negligence on the part of another driver in New York or New Jersey, you owe it to yourself to contact a reputable, trustworthy personal injury attorney with a strong track record on negotiation and litigation. Putting yourself in such capable hands will ensure that you receive the most compensation possible for your physical, emotional and financial pain and suffering.