Driving can be dangerous for anyone: traffic, slick roads, wind, rain, snow and avoiding the mistakes of other drivers can be daunting. Because they lack the experience of other drivers, this is especially true for teens and is one of the reasons the cost of car insurance goes down dramatically as drivers become older.
The statistics back this up. According to the CDC, roughly one-third of accident-related deaths for teens are caused by motor-vehicle crashes. In addition, in 2014, 2,270 teens aged 16-19 in the U.S. died as the result of accidents, and 221,313 were treated in emergency rooms. The sobering reality of these statistics indicate that every day in the U.S., six teenagers die because of vehicle crashes.
The costs aren’t tallied simply in lives. The CDC also estimated that teen accidents make up a disproportionate part of the cost. Despite making up only seven percent of the population, teens account for more than $10 billion of the costs of motor vehicle accidents overall.
And the effects of the crashes go far past simply those for the person driving. Instead, they tend to have a ripple effect that spreads throughout the whole economy. Total costs also include hospital charges, rehab, doctor’s bills, prescription drug costs, physical therapy, assistive devices, home nursing care, household help, lost wages, reduced future earning ability, loss of companionship, funeral expenses and more.
According to NHTSA, one of the main causes for teen crashes is distracted driving, or driving while engaged in a different activity which may take the driver’s attention from the road. Overall, distracted driving accounts for an estimated 25-50 percent of all accidents. It’s estimated that in 2013, cell phones contributed to 25 percent of fatal or injury accidents, stereos accounted for 22 percent, and various other electronic devices for 13 percent.
Nothing can take the place of experience, but the DMV suggests there are several ways to improve teen driving habits and help reduce the risks of teen accidents. The most effective include:
- No cellphone use (including texting) while driving
- No extra passengers
- No speeding
- No alcohol
- No driving or riding without a seatbelt.
One of the most overlooked but effective ways to improve teen driving safety is by picking the correct vehicle. As simply a common sense measure, it is important to take into consideration that teens, as well as not being experienced at driving, don’t have experience in decision-making and exercising good judgment. For these reasons, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers these tips for purchasing a car for your teenager:
- Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower.
- Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer.
- Electronic stability control (ESC) is a must.
- Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible.
Teens don’t intentionally crash cars; lack of experience, road conditions, lack of driver-education, decision-making abilities, equipment and distracted driving contribute to most accidents. To combat this, it is vital to give teens the help they need to become safe drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle crash involving a teen driver, contact the vehicle accident attorneys at Neale & Fhima to learn more about your options. We provide aggressive and experienced legal representation to clients throughout California. Call us at 888-995-0283 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.