How Distractions Result in Teen Auto Accidents

Regardless of the driver’s experience on the road, distracted driving can be dangerous. However, distractions are particularly hazardous for teens and commonly result in car accidents. While we often think about texting while driving or using a handheld cell phone behind the wheel as the most dangerous type of distracted driving, a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that the distractions associated with having one or more teen passengers are frequent causes of teen car crashes.

Teen Drivers with Teen Passengers Increase Fatal Accident Risk

When teen drivers get behind the wheel and have one or more teenage passengers in the vehicle, the risk of a serious or fatal car crash increases significantly. The study reports that, “when a teen driver has only teen passengers in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all people involved in a crash increase[s] by 51 percent.”  On the other hand,  “when older passengers (35 or older) ride with a teen driver, overall fatality rates in crashes decrease eight percent.”

In sum, teen drivers who have teen passengers are at much higher risk of being involved in a deadly collision, while the hazards associated with passengers in a teen’s car decreases when the passenger is an adult aged 35 or older. In the latter situation, having a passenger actually lowers the teen’s risk of being involved in a collision. The authors of the study attribute the difference to distractions caused by teen passengers and supervision provided by adult passengers aged 35 and up.

Learning More About Teen Driving Collisions

According to the study, teen drivers are involved in more than one million crashes in the U.S. each year that result in more than 3,200 fatalities. Jennifer Ryan, the AAA State Relations director, emphasized that many of these crashes could be avoided if teens had more experience behind the wheel, and if parents prohibited them from riding with other teen passengers.

The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that parents set clear rules for teen drivers before allowing them behind the wheel. In addition to banning certain obvious behaviors like talking on a cell phone, texting while driving, or consuming alcohol before driving, the NSC also recommends that parents ban teens from driving with passengers. In addition, the NSC encourages parents to model good driving behavior for their teens by always wearing a seatbelt and obeying the speed limit.

When a motor vehicle crash does occur, New York law gives a plaintiff three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation. Failure to file a lawsuit within the period set by the statute of limitations can result in the claim being time-barred.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

If you need assistance with a motor vehicle crash claim, you should speak with a dedicated New York auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about how we can assist you.