Why are teenage drivers at higher risk for causing serious car accidents?

Inexperienced teenage drivers pose a threat to other motorists on the road. However, states may implement programs to limit these dangers.

For many teenagers in Pennsylvania and across the country, getting a driver's license is a monumental time in one's life. Most teens cannot wait to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and have the freedom to cruise around town with their friends. Unfortunately, this new and exciting time can be deadly for a number of teen drivers. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that more teens die in catastrophic car accidents in the U.S. than in any other type of accident. Nearly half of these deaths involve teen drivers. What factors cause teenage drivers to lead the pack when it comes to deadly car accidents? How can people prevent these accidents from occurring?

Factors leading to teen automobile accidents

There are several reasons why teenagers are at an increased risk of causing a major car collision. For one, young drivers lack the experience and common sense that many seasoned drivers have. Teen drivers may not know how to react in certain situations on the road or handle hazards that may come up. Teenagers are also more likely to drive faster than the posted speed limit and may not know how to regulate their speed, especially during bad weather conditions.

Teenage drivers who have passengers in the vehicle are also at an increased risk of becoming involved in an auto accident, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. After studying fatality reports involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers, researchers stated that teenagers' risk of becoming involved in a fatal car accident increases in proportion to the number of passengers they have in the vehicle with them while they are driving.

Teenagers are also more likely to be distracted by texting or talking on a cellphone while driving. Some studies have shown that texting (sending or reading) while operating a vehicle is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

What can be done?

The NHTSA recommends that states implement a graduated driver's license program, which may help to better train teens on the importance of using safe driving practices. Pennsylvania's young driver law involves a three-step program that teens must go through in order to earn their driver's license. During this training period, teens have certain restrictions, such as limitations on nighttime driving and who can ride in the vehicle while they are driving.

Finding legal assistance for personal injuries

Whether you were involved in an accident caused by a distracted, drowsy or speeding teenager, you may need to obtain legal assistance to help you with your case. An attorney in Pennsylvania may offer much-needed assistance as you organize your personal injury case. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work, property damage and emotional trauma.