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Understanding young teen drivers and car accidents


Car accidents do not discriminate and can impact anyone regardless of their age, sex, gender, and socio-economic status. However, what our Illinois readers may find interesting to learn is that according to the Centers for Disease Control one of the leading causes of death for teens and young drivers in the United States is motor vehicle crashes.

Young teen drivers are defined as those between 15-24 years of age. Though this age group comprises only 14 percent of the U.S. population, CDC estimates that young drivers account for nearly 28 to 30 percent of the total cost of injuries sustained in car accidents.

Furthermore, CDC noted that in 2011 alone an estimated 292,000 young drivers received some kind of medical treatment in an emergency room for injuries sustained in a car accident. And, over 2,600 teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 lost their lives, meaning that at least seven teens in this age group were killed daily in a car accident.

These statistics are very sobering and one may wonder as to what puts young drivers at a risk for car accidents. The answer is multifaceted. Some reasons that the CDC provides are that young teen drivers are inexperienced compared to adult drivers and may not be as adept at recognizing hazardous driving conditions. Furthermore, young drivers are more likely to speed and, according to the CDC, the likelihood of speeding increases when there is more than one male teenage passenger in the car. In fact, a CDC statistic shows that nearly 37 percent of young male drivers who were killed in a car accident were speeding at the time of the accident.

Coupled with speeding is drinking and driving and not wearing a seat belt. Nearly 71 percent of young drivers between 15 and 20 who lost their life in a car accident were reportedly driving under the influence and were not wearing a seat belt. It is important to keep in mind that regardless of one's age, all drivers have a legal obligation to obey traffic laws and be safe on the roads. Being young and inexperienced is not an excuse. If an accident with injuries results, those impacted may want to contact a personal injury lawyer for more information.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety - Teen Drivers," Oct. 7, 2014

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