On the heels of reports showing an increase in traffic-related deaths comes news that the number of teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes is also on the rise. Speeding, distracted driving, and poor visual screening were found to be the largest mistakes teen drivers make behind the wheel, contributing to the number of accidents. Parents apparently do not appear to be helping the situation either, as researchers found it is often a case of “do as I say, not as I do,” when it comes to adults and their teenage drivers.
Teen driving deaths rose by an alarming 10 percent last year, with teenage drivers involved in almost 14,000 deadly car accidents in the past five years. Speeding was a factor in more than 4,200 of these crashes. When it comes to fatal motor vehicle accidents, teenage drivers are 150 percent more likely to be involved than their adult counterparts. In addition, two-thirds of the individuals killed in these accidents are someone other than the teen driver.
Aside from speeding, distracted driving continues to be a major problem for teenage drivers. This is not only from cell phone use, even though phones are now used for a variety of reasons including GPS and music. Detractions also come from interacting with other passengers, looking at or reaching for something inside the vehicle, brushing hair or putting on makeup, and even singing or dancing to music. Inexperience leads to young drivers frequently not scanning the road properly for potential hazards which can be deadly to both motorists and pedestrians.
Parents, however, may not be the best people to help teenage drivers correct these problematic behaviors. A majority of driving instructors surveyed by AAA says parents are worse today at showing their teenagers how to drive than they were ten years ago. The reason? Parents do not set the best example. The AAA survey showed 77 percent of adults ages 35-55 talk on their phones while driving and 46 percent admit to driving at least 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Parents may think this is acceptable because they are more experienced drivers, but it is just as dangerous and potentially deadly. Parents will set strict rules regarding cell phone use for their teenage drivers, but many still send their children a text message when they are fully aware the teen is behind the wheel. Even more puzzling is almost a third of those parents expect a quick response.
Safety organizations are calling on lawmakers to put in place a more graduated system to become a fully licensed driver so teenagers can gain additional driving experience under more ideal driving conditions and supervision. There is also a call for stronger enforcement of distracted driver violations to help cut down on the number of accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident with an inexperienced or distracted driver, it is important to have a lawyer on your side who will be able to maximize the monetary damage owed to you and your family. Don’t delay. Call the experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.