If you know a teenager who just got their driver’s license, you may hesitant about driving with them. You’ve probably heard that teens aren’t the safest drivers, and you may be wondering if you’ll be at greater risk of injury if you’re a passenger. Unfortunately, the facts show that teen drivers are more likely to get into accidents. Some crashes may just be fender benders, but others involve serious or fatal injuries.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teenagers drive less than everyone but the most elderly. However, they are involved in a disproportionately high number of crashes and crash deaths. In 2018, teenagers had a fatal crash rate per mile driven that was almost triple that of drivers ages 20 and up.
Meanwhile, Alabama Public Health says every year, traffic fatalities account for almost 50 percent of preventable deaths for individuals under the age of 18. In many cases, driver inexperience is listed as the cause.
If you ever get involved in an accident involving a teenage driver, you should contact an Alabama car accident lawyer and seek compensation in the usual way. In the meantime, it may be helpful to learn more about why teenage drivers are so at-risk when they get behind the wheel. That way, you can caution young drivers in your life about the things they should avoid doing.
Why Teens Get Involved in So Many Accidents
This is no single reason why teens get involved in car accidents. Speeding, distraction, inexperience, and alcohol use are all contributing factors. Some teenagers feel like they need to keep up with what is happening on social media even when they’re driving.
Others get distracted by the radio or conversations with their passengers. In doing so, they put themselves and others at risk since they can injure their passengers and other road users. Distracted drivers often fail to notice road hazards or oncoming vehicles until it’s too late to avoid them.
Research shows that many teens also doze off or come close to falling asleep while behind the wheel. A study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions found that more than 50 percent of teens drove while drowsy. Teenagers are known for staying up late whether they’re studying or chatting with friends. Many get less than six hours sleep and this affects their ability to drive safely. Teens are less likely than older drivers to pull over if they realize they’re getting sleepy.
Meanwhile, teenagers are guilty of drinking and driving even though they shouldn’t even be drinking. Drivers who are intoxicated have slowed reaction times, altered visual perception, poor judgment, and reduced concentration, among other impairments. Coupled with inexperienced, alcohol puts teen drivers in even more danger.
Another reason why teenagers are overrepresented in crashes is that they tend to enjoy driving above the speed limit. While they may get a thrill by going fast, they are more likely to lose control of their vehicles. Speeding also makes it harder to stop in an effort to avoid a crash.
Getting Compensation After a Crash Involving a Teenage Driver
If you were injured by a teen driver, you have the right to claim compensation. It doesn’t matter whether you were the teenager’s passenger or you were in another vehicle. Some people are reluctant to file personal injury claims or lawsuits against teen drivers. Passengers are likely to be friends with the teen while other road users are mindful of the driver’s age. However, there is no need for reluctance.
Teenaged drivers must have insurance just like other motorists and it exists precisely for situations like these. The teenager won’t personally have to pay you. It’s highly unlikely that they would have the assets anyway. Instead, you’ll be negotiating a settlement with the driver’s insurance company. Even if the case has to go to trial, the court will order the insurer to pay, not the teenager.
As Alabama accident lawyers will explain, you will typically be able to claim to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Property repair or replacement costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Get Advice and Representation from The Vance Law Firm
You need to know your legal rights if you get involved in an Alabama car accident. You deserve to get compensation for your losses if you were not at fault for the crash. Whether the driver is a teenager or an older person, the Alabama accident lawyers at The Vance Law Firm can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.