The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported on teen car accident factors, and the statistics are chilling:
- Drivers aged 16-19 years old are at the greatest risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash, which is higher than any other age group;
- Among teen drivers 16-19 years old, males are at especially high risk, with a death rate of double that of females in the same age group;
- The mere presence of another teen as passenger in a vehicle increases the possibility of being in an accident; and,
- Teens are more likely to be in an accident during the first months after obtaining their driver’s license.
There are certain factors that make teens more likely to be involved in a Maryland car accident, which, fortunately, are preventable. They include:
- Lack of Experience: It is only logical that teens have less time behind the wheel, and driving is one task that takes practice to improve. There is the physical muscle memory that comes with experience, but mental training is also critical. Inexperienced teen drivers may not be able to recognize hazards in the road in enough time to react and avoid an accident.
- Cell Phone Use: Texting, interacting on social media, and chatting on a cell phone are extremely dangerous activities for drivers of any age; they are also popular activities among teenagers who may not fully grasp that 100% of a driver’s attention must be on the road at all times. Maryland has laws against cell phone use while driving, but that has not deterred many drivers, including teens.
- Other Types of Distracted Driving: There are many other sources of distraction that may take a teen’s attention away from operating the car, such as eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, and using a navigation system. These distractions can be just as problematic as operating a smart phone.
- Reckless Driving: With the newfound freedoms that come with obtaining their driver’s licenses, some teens tend to push the limits of safe vehicle operation. They may take unreasonable risks, such as speeding, taking a turn too fast, or making dangerous lane changes.
- Other Teens in the Car: Peer pressure can motivate teens to drive unsafely, more so than when adults are in the car. A younger driver may engage in the types of reckless driving more likely to cause an accident, simply to impress friends.
It is true that teens are more likely to be involved in Maryland car crashes, but accidents can happen any time, even when you are exercising the highest degree of care. If you are injured in a vehicle collision, you could be facing a long road back to health, along with medical bills and loss of income. You may be able recover compensation from the responsible driver, so increase your chance of success by retaining an experienced lawyer to represent your interests. For more information on your rights after a car accident, please contact the Baltimore County, MD office of Attorney Michael A. Freedman.
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