The leading causes of teenage drivers’ death range from distracted driving to reckless driving and drug or alcohol use. As reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the number one killer of teenage drivers in the 16-25 age range is car crashes, and nearly 55% of all crashes for this age group occurred due to driving under the influence. Accordingly, the number one killer of teenage drivers may be intoxicated driving.
However, distracted driving has risen sharply over the last decade, as more teenagers continue to use devices while driving. The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) reports that nearly 28 percent of all serious injuries in car accidents involve some form of distracted driving, meaning that distracted driving may also be the number one killer of teenage drivers.
Distracted Driving Explored
Distracted driving may occur when a teenager’s focus shifts from operating the vehicle to an event or activity either inside or outside the vehicle. Distractions may take on many forms, including:
- Accessing dashboard functions or devices
- Using a remote device (phones, games, navigation devices)
- Viewing people, scenery, or attractions outside the car
- Engaging with passengers inside the car
- Grooming or focused attention on oneself
- Consuming food or beverages
Any competing activity, object, or event that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is considered distracted driving.
Why Distracted Driving Is Dangerous for Teens
Distracted driving is dangerous for any driver in any age group. However, it presents distinct risks to teenagers, such as:
Teenagers who have been driving for two years or less are encountering their greatest learning curve. Therefore, they may make more mistakes during this time. Driving while distracted may increase the risk that they may get into a wreck because they do not have the experience necessary to operate the vehicle.
Failure to Multitask
While distracted driving is always dangerous, adults who have been driving for a long time may have more ability to multitask when necessary. Teenagers are still developing cognitive and motor skills. They may not have the ability to multitask, as well. For this reason, they should practice far more concentration on their driving instead of allowing distractions to shift their eyes off the road.
Increased Social Activity
Teenagers may be more engaged with friends in social situations than any other age group. They may be more likely to drive with a car full of passengers to or from social events. More people in the car may increase the potential for more distractions. This may be especially true if the passengers do not realize that they are distracting the driver.
Teen Attitudes Toward Distracted Driving
Teenagers may be willing to take risks while driving. This attitude may contribute to reckless driving or driving under the influence. It should not be surprising that teenagers may take the same cavalier approach to distracted driving. A survey conducted by the CCMTA revealed the following:
- 65 percent of teen drivers read or send texts while driving
- 30 percent of teen drivers surf the web or look at social media
- Unbelted drivers use devices more than belted drivers
- Only seven percent of drivers limit their device use when the vehicle is stopped
- 31 percent of teens talk and text simultaneously
Perhaps the most alarming attitude that teenagers take toward distracted driving—particularly texting and driving—is that they believe that they can multitask. CCMTA’s latest research shows that young drivers are more reluctant than any other age group to admit that they cannot operate a vehicle properly while using a device.
What to Do if You Get into an Accident with a Teenager
Suppose you were injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver who may have been distracted, intoxicated, or negligent in some other way. In that case, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. This may include the costs of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Proving liability in a car accident case may require evidence that the other driver caused the accident while behaving negligently. You may be able to do this with evidence that the driver committed a traffic law violation, such as a failure to yield or an illegal lane change, regardless of if there is evidence explaining why they committed this violation.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident involving a teen driver, contact Preszler Injury Lawyers. A lawyer from our firm may be able to review the accident, determine who was at fault and represent you in settlement negotiations or on trial.
Our legal team is prepared to help you with your case. Call us at 1-800-JUSTICE for a free initial consultation with a member of our team.