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Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Discuss Crash Risk for Teen Drivers

January 21, 2016

teen driver

Getting ones driver’s license can be the most exciting day of a young person’s life. However, new drivers are at a much higher risk for getting in a car accident than experienced drivers. During the first few months a teen is driving, the risk of crashing is particularly high. Sadly, car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, accounting for nearly one third of all deaths for teens over 16. Being aware of the factors that contribute to teen car accidents can help prevent a deadly collision from occurring.

A combination of inexperience, impulsiveness and exposure to dangerous conditions proves to be a dangerous mix for new drivers. Standard driving education courses only provide the bare minimum of practice to become a competent driver. Although additional research needs to be conducted, current data suggests that it can take two full years to become a proficient driver.

Also, in general, teen drivers tend to be very impulsive, particularly 16-year-olds. When other teen occupants are riding in the car with a young driver, the tendency to engage in impulsive behavior is compounded. The risk of a teen getting into a car accident increases with the addition of each additional passenger.

Teen drivers frequently drive at night, which can be dangerous for drivers of any age. Most collisions involving teen drivers occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and midnight. The fatal crash rate of teen drivers is four times higher at night than during the day.

Other characteristics common to teen car accidents include failure to wear a seat belt and driving while impaired. Although teenagers are less likely to drink and drive, when they do, their risk of a car accident is substantially higher.

What Can Be Done To Make Driving Safer for Teens?

Some states have enacted strong graduated licensing laws to reduce the rates of teen crashes and fatalities. Graduated licensing is wherein driving privileges are phased in slowly to restrict a beginner’s initial experience behind the wheel to low risk situations. Some features of graduated licensing provisions include:

  • A minimum permit age of sixteen
  • Requiring at least 70 hours of supervised practice before solo driving is permitted
  • A minimum age of seventeen for an “intermediate” license, where driving after 8:00 p.m. or with other teen passengers is banned

Parents can help establish rules to protect their children from getting into an accident, in particular:

  • Don’t rely solely on driver education classes. Spend time teaching your teen how to drive and focus on positively influencing their attitudes and decision-making skills.
  • Restrict night time driving. Even if your state has a night driving restriction for teens, consider setting it earlier for your teen.
  • Don’t allow your teen to drive with multiple peer passengers.
  • Insist on use of a seat belt.
  • Choose a safe car for your teen. Larger, heavier vehicles are safer. Look for cars with side airbags, high safety ratings and electronic stability control.
  • Consider using a monitoring device that flags certain behaviors such as speeding, abrupt braking, abrupt acceleration and non-use of seatbelt. Your insurer may offer a discount for use of one of these devices.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates P.C. Represent Teen Drivers

If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident, the experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates P.C. can help you obtain compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-9100 or contact us online today.