Teenage drivers are especially vulnerable to car accidents. This may be due to lack of experience and a tendency to take risks.
Getting a driver’s license is one of the most exciting rites of passage for teenagers in Missouri and elsewhere in the country. During this happy, positive time, newly licensed drivers and their families might not think about the more sobering ramifications of driving. However, being informed of the risks may help to prevent tragic accidents.
Motor vehicle collisions are the top cause of death for teenagers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, 2,163 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed and over 200,000 more were injured after being involved in crashes.
Inexperience and other factors that contribute to teen accidents
How bad is the situation for those living in Missouri? StJoeChannel.com cited a recent study by WalletHub, which stated that Missouri ranks fifth in the nation for being dangerous for teenage drivers. The most serious traffic safety issues affecting teens in the state included distracted driving, summer construction, and speeding.
The crash risk for teenagers is higher than that of any other age group, states the CDC. Those who sustain the most risk include the following:
- Male teenagers
- Those driving with other teens in the vehicle
- Teenagers who have had their license a short time
It is well known that many teenagers engage in risky driving behaviors, such as texting while driving. Other issues commonly affecting teens include not wearing seat belts, being more likely to tailgate other drivers, showing off with their friends in the car and driving while intoxicated. New drivers may also have difficulty recognizing or reacting to hazardous road or weather conditions or driving at night. Additionally, many young people are sleep-deprived, making drowsy driving a serious concern for them.
Prevention can go a long way
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are several steps teenagers can take to be safer drivers. Graduated licensing programs that regulate how many practice hours minors must have behind the wheel before getting their license is a good start. Parents might consider printing up an agreement – with safe driving rules and consequences – and having their teenagers sign it before letting them drive. It can also help a great deal for parents to set a good example years before their children are old enough to start driving. By continuously observing safe driving habits, teenagers may have these habits ingrained in their heads before they get their learner’s permits.
If you are injured by a teenage driver or anyone who drove irresponsibly, you may be entitled to compensation. You may need to contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney to explain your options.