Distracted and Inexperienced Driving: A Dangerous Combination for Teen Drivers

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October 7, 2016 | Auto Accidents |

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Imagine the first time your parents handed over the keys to the car; it was a great milestone filled with independence and excitement. You probably didn’t stop to think about fellow teen driving statistics before you hopped in the car. However, in 2016, it’s more important than ever not only for parents to be know the facts, but to educate their teen drivers before they hit the road.

Teen Car Accident Statistics in the U.S.

Of any age group, teen drivers have the highest crash rate in all of the United States. Research found that 936,00 drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were involved in car accidents in 2013. Of those accidents, 383,00 injuries and 2,865 fatalities were the unfortunate results.

A 2015 teen car accident study conducted by AAA discovered that the leading cause of car accidents among teen drivers is due to distracted driving. In fact, 6 out of 10 teen accidents can be blamed on distractions:

  • Interacting with other passengers were the cause of 15% of teen car accidents
  • Using a cell phone was the cause of 12% of teen accidents
  • Looking at something inside the car caused 10% of the accidents
  • Looking at something outside of the vehicle caused 9% of wrecks
  • Singing and/or dancing while listening to music caused 8% of accidents
  • Grooming caused 6% of teen auto accidents
  • 6% of teen accidents happened because the driver was reaching for an object inside the car

Saying that driving with a friend, having a cell phone, and looking around the car while driving is common is an understatement; most everyone does those things at some point. Knowing how to manage those distractions might come with more behind-the-wheel experience.

With that said, another leading cause of teen driving accidents are due to inexperience. For example, a new driver is unable to refer to past situations where they handled distractions more efficiently, or, due to inexperience, they underestimate dangerous situations.

Teen Driving Laws in Indiana

Let’s face it: Distractions are impossible to avoid while driving–no matter how old the driver. But, states across the U.S. have taken note of the devastating teen driver accidents, injuries, and fatalities, and attempted to make a difference.

Compared to some states, the Indiana Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program is a more interactive and complex one. The goal is to reduce accident fatalities, and give teen drivers more preparation and experience. GDL programs in Indiana have a 3 step process:

  1. A combination of in-class and behind-the-wheel training performed simultaneously–not in separate segments
  2. More hours of driving experience spread across each season to give teen drivers weather-related experience and expectations
  3. Granting of a drivers license is based on skill, experience, and performance instead of completing a certain number of driving time

In addition, in the summer of 2009, Indiana changed its GDL laws: If drivers are granted a license at 16 or 17 years old, their license is under a probationary period until they turn 18. And finally, in 2011, Indiana added on more driving time as a requirement for obtaining a license, as well as increased parent participation while their teens are learning to drive.

Consider Hiring an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

Sadly, despite education and awareness, the worst can still happen. Complications from a fatal or serious crash can last a lifetime, but if there’s any sort of relief, why not seek it?

If your teen was involved in a fatal car accident or seriously injured by a negligent driver, contact the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. With over 30 years of personal injury experience, let our attorneys help find the relief your family deserves. To schedule your free case evaluation, fill out the contact form below or call our office at 317-920-6400.

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