8 Reasons for Teen Car Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control, automobile accidents are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. During 2018, roughly 2,500 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 years died in traffic accidents. Over 285,000 teenagers received treatment in emergency rooms for car accident injuries.
The good news is that Massachusetts has seen a decrease in death rates and injury rates for teen drivers ages 16 and 17 years. However, 18 to 20 year-olds have a higher hospitalization rate for crash-related injuries than drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 years.
The decrease in injury rates and fatal car crashes could be due to the strict requirements for obtaining junior operator licenses. Restrictions placed upon teen drivers can also be a factor in the reduced rate of injuries and deaths for teen drivers in Massachusetts.
Teen Drivers Continue to Be Involved in Car Accidents
Even though the rates for teen car accidents might be lower than in previous years, teen drivers continue to be involved in car accidents. Several factors can place teen drivers at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.
Eight reasons for teen car accidents are:
Teen drivers do not have the experience necessary to handle many driving conditions. For example, interstate and highway conditions could easily overwhelm a teen driver. Teen drivers may not recognize the dangers of congested driving.
Parents can help reduce the risk of accidents by riding with their children in various driving conditions. For example, parents should ride with their child in poor weather conditions to instruct their child in safe behaviors, such as increasing the distance between vehicles and decreasing speed.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents for teen drivers. The use of cell phones and other electronic devices by teens while driving is common. Teens are also likely to multitask while driving, such as putting on makeup, eating, or reading.
3. Passengers in the Vehicle
Having passengers in the vehicle, especially other teenagers, increases the risk of a teen driving accident. A teen driver may be distracted by passengers who might engage in dangerous behaviors. Teen drivers who have passengers in the vehicle may be more likely to play loud music, drive too fast for conditions, or take their eyes off the road to engage with their passengers.
4. Drunk Driving
Impaired driving is a problem for all age groups. Teen drivers may face intense peer pressure to drive while intoxicated. Parents can assure their teen drivers that they can call their parents to pick them up, without immediate questions, if they consume any alcoholic beverages.
5. Reckless Driving
Teen drivers may engage in reckless driving behaviors, such as improper lane changes, running red lights, and following too closely or tailgating. Any of these driving behaviors can increase the risk of a teen car accidents. Practice and continuous reminders are two ways parents can help their teens learn about the dangers of reckless driving.
Speeding is another common cause of teen driving accidents. Several apps, including some insurance apps, help parents monitor the speed at which their teenagers drive. Speed can increase the severity of injuries from a crash, including head-on collisions.
7. Drowsy Driving
Many teenagers balance school, work, and extracurricular activities with an active social life. The result can be a lack of sleep.
A lack of sleep increases the risk of a car wreck. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving.
8. Nighttime Driving
Driving at night can also increase a teen driver’s risk of a car accident. Nighttime driving is one of the driving conditions that many teens do not have very much experience with when they obtain their driver’s license. Giving teens supervised time behind the wheel of a car at night can help them gain the experience they need to handle nighttime driving safely.
What Should I Do if My Teenager is Involved in a Massachusetts Car Accident?
It can help to create a checklist for your teen driver to ensure they know what to do in the event of a car wreck. Review the list several times and discuss each step. Steps could include calling 911, calling a parent, not admitting fault, etc.
Because teen drivers are often accused of reckless driving and dangerous driving behaviors, they are easy to blame for a car crash. Even though the accident might not be your teenager’s fault, the police officer might give more weight to the other driver’s version of events.
It can be wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible to protect your teenager’s rights. If your teen was injured in the collision, they might be entitled to compensation for damages, including financial losses, pain, and suffering.