In 2016, young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 were involved in more than 24,000 accidents on Pennsylvania highways. Nearly 63 percent of these accidents involved more one vehicle. 16-year-old drivers actually have a lower accident rate than drivers between the ages of 17 and 19 thanks to a 1999 law placing driving restrictions on 16-year-olds undergoing the permit and licensing process.
Involved in an accident?
If your teenager was injured as a driver, passenger, or you were injured by a distracted teenager, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Our staff can assist you in understanding and preserving your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Attorney Edith Pearce is both a Children’s Injury Attorney and a highly rated Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney.
Why Teen Drivers Are at Higher Risk for Accidents:
Young drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident due to their lack of driving experience. They are typically more likely to be distracted by fellow passengers, loud music, phone calls, and texts. Teen drivers and passengers also tend to suffer more serious or fatal injuries during collisions since they are less likely to wear seatbelts.
The fact that the teenage brain is not fully developed may also contribute to the higher number of accidents among young drivers. Brain scans show that certain portions of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, do not fully mature until the mid-20s. The prefrontal cortex is the portion of the brain involved in impulse control, attention, abstract thinking, and the appreciation of risks and consequences, which may explain why teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors while driving. For example, approximately 12 percent of driver fatalities among teen drivers involved alcohol.
How to Protect Your Teen Driver:
A driver’s license is an important right of passage for any teenager; however, it does come with risks and responsibilities. Parents can help keep their teen and other drivers safe with the following guidelines:
- Place reasonable limits on where and when your child can drive.
- Limit the number of passengers that your teen can have in the vehicle.
- Have frequent conversations with your teen about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.
- Stress the importance of wearing a seat belt even on short trips.
- Set a good example by not texting or talking on your cell phone while driving.
- Enroll your teenager in a defensive driving course.
- Utilize technology to your advantage. There are a number of devices available that can limit everything from the speed of the vehicle to the volume of the radio. Apps and devices are also available that can help you track your teen’s driving behaviors and limit cell phone functionality while the vehicle is moving.
- Instruct your teen driver about what they should do in the event that they are involved in an accident, including calling the police and medical personnel.