Young drivers get into their fair share of serious car accidents. This is why so many parents are nervous when they hand their keys over to their teenager.
How concerned should parents be about the risks that their teens face on the road? A recently published study by WalletHub does a good job of quantifying it.
Even though they make up only 14 percent of those who are on the road, drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 account for about one-third of all costs related to car accident injuries in the U.S., the study notes.
Additionally, according to WalletHub, teen driver safety varies considerably by state. The study ranked states based on teen accident data, driver safety regulations and economic conditions. As the study found:
Five Best States for Teen Drivers
Five Worst States for Teen Drivers
If you are the parent of a teen driver in the Memphis area, you may wonder how this area ranks in terms of safety.
According to the study, Tennessee is the 25th safest state. However, Mississippi ranks far below at No. 41. Clearly, both states must make some significant improvements.
With its Graduated Driver License Program and relatively strong DUI penalties, WalletHub gave Tennessee a favorable ranking in the category of “driving laws.”
However, because Tennessee imposes fairly low fines for speeding and distracted driving, the state did not fare well in the study’s “economic environment” category. In other words, the state’s fines do little to deter these dangerous driving behaviors.
Mississippi ranked poorly in every category analyzed by WalletHub. The state simply has not sufficiently addressed teen driver safety.
For instance, many states features laws that prohibit texting while driving, which is a major problem among teenagers. However, Mississippi only recently banned texting while driving – becoming the 45th state to do so – and imposes only a $100 fine on violators, according to WalletHub.
Teens lack experience behind the wheel, which contributes to their high accident risk. States can address this factor by providing more training and driver education for teens before they become fully licensed. Tennessee’s Graduated Driver License Program, which we discussed above, is a good example.
However, beyond their lack of experience, teens simply have a tendency to engage in risky behavior when they are behind the wheel.
For instance, in a survey that AT&T conducted as part of the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign, 75 percent of the teenagers polled said that their friends commonly text and drive.
Additionally, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 60 percent of teen drivers involved in crashes were engaged in distracted behavior.
The study noted that cell phones were a particularly risky distraction. Teens that used a cell phone while behind the wheel took their eyes off of the road for an average of 4.1 seconds each time they took a glance at their phone, the study found. To put that number into perspective, a vehicle travelling 45 mph travels more than 260 feet in just four seconds.
So many unexpected things can happen during the time when a driver’s eyes are off the road. A single second could be the difference between safely hitting the brakes or getting into a crash.
Of course, teen drivers put more than their own safety at risk when they engage in distracted driving or other risky conduct. They endanger the safety of everyone else on the road.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash that a teen driver caused, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.
Certainly, most teen drivers lack the personal assets to cover accident damages. However, keep in mind that injury victims do not seek compensation directly from the teen driver. Instead, they file a claim with the teen’s liability insurance provider.
To learn more about your options after a serious car accident, you should speak with experienced Memphis car accident attorney David E. Gordon.
David is among the less than two percent of Tennessee attorneys who are Board Certified by the Tennessee Supreme Court. He is also among the less than five percent who have been recognized in Super Lawyers magazine.
The car accident claims process can be highly complex. You can count on David to carefully
guide your claim through that process and protect your rights at every stage.
Call or reach us online today to get started.