A CLOSER LOOK AT DISTRACTED DRIVING DANGERS AMONG TEEN DRIVERS
Unfortunately, as Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys, we far too often see the devastating effects of distracted driving, especially among teenage drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that more than 5,000 teenagers are killed in passenger vehicle crashes each year, and that weekdays result in the death of a teen an average of once per hour on U.S. roads.
Teenagers are at greater risk of death in a collision for a myriad of reasons, including inexperience and a higher level of intoxicated driving. However, one of the biggest risks in recent years is the danger of a distracted driving accident.
Seventy-eight percent of teenagers had cell phones as of a March 2013 Pew poll, and almost half of young people aged 16-20 have smartphones that make texting and Internet use possible. Teens frequently use these phones while driving, significantly increasing the risk of a collision that could injure themselves or others. Victims of collisions involving distracted teen drivers need to consult with a motor vehicle accident attorney for assistance in pursuing an accident claim.THE PROBLEM OF TEEN DISTRACTED DRIVING
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data reveals that 12 percent of teenage drivers involved in fatal collisions were distracted at the time of the collision. Among drivers aged 15-19, 21 percent of drivers killed in distracted driving crashes had been using a cell phone at the time of the collision.
Cell phone use can take the form of talking, texting, Internet browsing or entering text into programs such as a GPS device. All of these activities create a cognitive distraction and are common among teen drivers. In fact, a Pew survey revealed that 40 percent of teenagers said they had been in a car with a peer who was doing something dangerous with a cell phone.
Texting and driving is widely considered to be the most dangerous of teen distracted driving behaviors, as texting can make the risk of an accident 23 times greater for any driver. Distraction.gov reports that sending or reading a text requires looking at the phone for an average of 4.6 seconds, allowing a motorist to travel the full length of a football field while not focused on the road. For teens who lack driving experience, texting and driving may be even more dangerous than for adult drivers.
Efforts to discourage distracted driving, including AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign, have had minimal effect on reducing the dangers of distracted driving among teens. A full 97 percent of teenagers acknowledge the risks of texting and driving on AT&T surveys, and yet most young people choose to text and drive anyway. Recent data indicates that the teens most likely to text and drive are not those who have just obtained their licenses but instead are young people who have had their license long enough to become more confident behind the wheel.
For example, an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that 58 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 admitted to using their cell phones while driving. Twenty-eight percent of the teenagers within this age group said their phone use was frequent. Texting, the most dangerous of behaviors on the phone, was also common. A total of 31 percent of teens said they had sent either a text or an email while driving, while seven percent reported that they regularly texted.
Among drivers in the 19-to-24 age group, on the other hand, 72 percent used the phone and 27 percent did so regularly. Slightly more young people within this group said that they text, with 42 percent reporting texting in the past and 11 percent indicating that they frequently text and drive.
Recent studies reveal that drivers typically begin to increase their distracting behavior within six months of first obtaining their license. While these teenagers may believe they are more equipped to handle texting since they have more driving experience, the reality is that texting is dangerous for people of all ages no matter how long they have had their license.
Other factors may also play into the choice to text and drive among teens. Peer pressure could encourage texting and driving, as 89 percent of teens expect a reply to an email or a text within five minutes. Observing adults texting also sets a bad example, as 41 percent of teenagers say they see their parents send or read emails or texts while operating a motor vehicle.
Finally, teens, like other drivers, may start by glancing at their phone while at a red light. Just 70 percent of teenagers think texting at a red light is risky, compared with 97 percent who acknowledged the dangers of driving while texting. Texting at a red light can still increase an accident, especially since teens will then have their phone at easy reach and will be more likely to look at it when traffic is moving.HOW AN ATLANTA CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Unfortunately, teens endanger themselves and others when texting. Victims of collisions should not hesitate to speak with an Atlanta Car accident Attorney and take legal action against distracted teen drivers. Teenagers, like all motorists, are covered by liability insurance and it is the insurer and not the teen that will pay accident bills and cover victim’s losses after a young driver causes a crash.
If you are a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, the Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C., can help. We have recovered millions for our clients and can help you recover the compensation you deserve. For more information, call us today at (855) 424-6587 for a free no obligation consultation.
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