As Bellevue personal injury attorneys, we have spent the last 30 years representing car accident victims and their families. We know that teenage drivers are more prone to get into car accidents than other drivers still it was troubling to read a new study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) which reveals that teenage drivers between 15-17 are about eight times more likely than young adult drivers to be involved in a fatal car accident if they have passengers in their vehicle.
The TTI study gave both the good and bad news. The good news is that fatal car accidents for drivers 15-17 years old are down 60% nationwide in the last 10 years. The bad news is that the fatal car accident risk for 15-17 year old teenage drivers with teen passengers in their vehicle is up 30%.
While the TTI study did not look at the cause of the increase in fatal car accident among teenage drivers they did point out two factors that may be at play here:
- Text messaging and cell phone usage became ubiquitous during this same time period
- Speeding was a common factor in the fatal car accidents during the past 10 years.
Washington state has tried to address the problem of teenage drivers driving with other young people in the car by creating an intermediate driver’s license. For teen drivers under the age of 18, they are prohibited from driving with passengers under the age of 20 years old except for immediate family members for the first six month after obtaining their license. For the next six months, they are not allowed to have more than three passengers under the age of 20 who are not family members in the car.
In addition to restrictions on the number and age of passengers in their vehicle, the intermediate license laws prohibit teens for driving between 1am and 5am for the first 12 months unless they are supervised by a licensed driver who is 25 years or older.
The intermediate driver license law also prohibits teenage drivers from using cell phones or other wireless devices while driving even if the devices are hands-free.
The Washington law was created because lawmakers know that teen drivers transporting their friends are often distracted by the passengers in their vehicle. Studies also show that teenage male drivers are more apt to drive aggressively when they have peers in their car including speeding.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent car accident victims in Bellevue, Seattle and throughout Western Washington. IF you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled for compensation for your damages including medical costs and lost wages. We provide a free and confidential case evaluation. Call us toll free at 1-800-244-9087 or use our online contact form.
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