The leading cause of death among teenagers ages 15-20 is car accidents according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In fact, teenagers are three times more likely to be killed in a car accident than any other age group. Not only do teenagers not yet have the experience to deal with hazardous conditions but their immaturity causes them to make bad decisions like speeding and failing to buckle up their seatbelt. In fact, of teens killed in car accident, 55% were not wearing a seatbelt.
Washington State like many other states has instituted a graduated driver's license. The graduated license allows teens to get experience driving under supervision and without adding distractions. Washington's graduated driver's license includes the following restrictions for driver's under the age of 18:
- No passengers under the age of 20 for the first six months except for immediate family members.
- For the subsequent six months, no more than three passengers under the age of 20 who are not family members.
- No nighttime driving between 1am and 5am for the first 12 months after receiving a license.
- No cell phones permitted.
Distractions and Teenage Drivers
Teenage drivers are often distracted by visual and auditor stimulation both inside and outside of the car. Even though texting and driving is prohibited, a majority of teens report that they had responded to text messages while driving.
Alcohol and Teenage Drivers
It is against the law for teenage drivers to drink and drive. Young drivers tend to drink and drive less than adults but whey they do, they are more likely to be involved in a car accident because of their relative inexperience with both driving and using alcohol.
Improving Teenage Driving
Technology is available which can actually help teens become better drivers.
- Seatbelts - Seatbelts are a basic safety device and when parents model seatbelt use and purchase cars with in-vehicle seatbelt alerts, teens are more apt to use them.
- Cell phone blocking technologies are available that prohibit teenage drivers from texting and answering their phone while driving. There are a variety of cell phone apps and after-market products available.
- There are after-market devices available monitors a teen's driving speeds and position and can also limit texting.
- Breathalyzers can detect the amount of alcohol in a teens' blood stream, informing them that they should not be driving.
While technology is fantastic, parental supervision and directed practice with parents in the car is crucial for a teen to learn to be a safe driver, especially in the first six months.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.