Statistics show that car accidents kill more teenagers in the U.S. than any other cause of death. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 75 percent of all fatal accidents involving teenagers are caused by motor vehicle accidents.
As if the above-mentioned teen car accident statistics were not disturbing enough, how about the fact that teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to get into car crashes than older motorists in the U.S.?
It’s clear that teenagers are more at risk to be in car accidents, but what many do not realize is that Washington state law holds teenage drivers to the same standard of care as adult drivers in the state. Our Seattle teen driver accident attorney at Russell & Hill, PLLC, explains that teenage drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure their own safety and the safety of other motorists they share the road with.
What puts teenage drivers at a greater risk of causing car accidents?
But why are teenage drivers more likely to cause and be killed in car crashes? Is it only because of their age? In reality, multiple factors come into play to explain why teenagers are more at risk to cause car accidents.
Fact: Teenager drivers have the highest risk of getting into a car accident during their first year of driving.
Statistically speaking, each day, about seven teenagers under 20 die from life-threatening injuries caused by car accidents. So what puts teenagers at the greatest risk of crashing their vehicle?
- Teenagers are less likely to wear seat belts;
- Teenagers are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Teenagers are inexperienced and are not aware of all traffic rules and safety protocols;
- Teenagers do not have good reaction times when operating a vehicle, as it takes years of practice to develop good reaction times and good judgment;
- Teenagers are more likely to use their cell phone (texting and driving, talking on the phone while driving, etc.) or get otherwise distracted behind the wheel; and
- Teenagers are more likely to get into a car crash if they are driving with other teenage passengers in the car.
Common causes of teenage driver car accidents
Even a minor mistake or driving error can lead to the most devastating car accident, which can result in catastrophic injuries and even deaths. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize this and endanger themselves, their passengers, and other motorists by driving negligently, carelessly, or recklessly.
Our experienced teenage driving accident attorney in Seattle has outlined some of the most common causes of automobile crashes caused by teen drivers in Washington state and elsewhere in the U.S.:
- Lack of experience. Statistics show that teenagers are at the greatest risk of getting into a car accident during their first 500 miles. This is directly correlated with the level of experience and skills, both of which take years of practice to develop and master.
- Immaturity. It would be unwise to deny the fact that teenage drivers tend to be impatient, aggressive, reckless, careless, inattentive, and disorganized. For them, driving a car is more about having fun and feeling the thrill of freedom and speed than getting from point A to point B.
- Distractions. Teenage drivers are much more likely to use their cell phone or other electronic devices while operating a vehicle, and most of them think that they can get away with texting and driving.
- Speeding. As we mentioned earlier, for teenage drivers, driving is all about fun and thrill, which is why teenage drivers are more likely to exceed the speed limit than adults.
- Teenage passengers. Many teenage drivers think that driving alone is boring, which is why their teenage friends tend to be their passengers. When a teenager drives with other teen passengers in the car, the driver is more likely to be negligent, careless, reckless and may attempt to take risks or perform dangerous stunts in an attempt to appear cool in front of his or her friends.
- Alcohol. Statistics show that alcohol is responsible for about a quarter of all fatal car accidents involving teenagers. For some reason, teenagers think it’s fun to be drinking and driving (it isn’t).
One of the first questions a victim of a car crash caused by a teenage driver will ask is whether the teen’s parents can be held responsible for the accident. Sometimes, victims may be able to hold the parents of the teenager who caused a car accident liable for their resulting injury.
Contact a Seattle teenage driver accident lawyer at Russell & Hill, PLLC, to discuss your case and establish fault. Call our offices at 206-880-7703 to get a free consultation today.