Learning to drive is a teenager’s rite of passage. Driving gives many teens their first taste of real freedom. Finally, they can get where they want to go when they want to go there, without having to rely on parents or older siblings for rides.
As we’ve discussed in a prior blog post, it is unfortunate that teens are also some of the most dangerous drivers on the roadways, accounting for an estimated $13.6 billion in motor vehicle injuries costs in 2016 alone.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver, a Denver accident attorney can help you recover for damages like medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you are a teen or the parent of a teen, the following information could help educate you about the dangers of teen driving and, hopefully, prevent an accident from happening in the first place.
Why Teen Drivers in Colorado and Elsewhere Are Such High Risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of being involved in a car crash is higher among teens aged 16 to 19 than among any other age group. Teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal motor vehicle crash.
Within this age group, males are twice as likely to be in fatal crashes than females. In addition, teens who drive with other teens as passengers are at greater risk of being involved in a serious car crash, and there is a correlation between how many teens are in the car and the likelihood of a crash.
The CDC also reports several factors that contribute to teens being at such a high risk of driving accidents and injuries, including:
- Inexperience. Teens often underestimate dangerous situations or do not recognize hazardous situations. They are more likely than adults to make critical decision errors and that can lead to serious accidents.
- Speed. Teens like speed. Studies show they are more likely than older drivers to speed.
- Tailgating. Teens allow for shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). This, when combined with speeding, is a recipe for a crash.
- Foregoing seatbelts. Teens have among the lowest rates of seat belt use. Studies show that just over half of high school students wear their seatbelts, whether driving or riding as passengers.
- Drinking and driving. Regardless of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers. Drinking and driving, when combined with a propensity to speed, makes for a dangerous situation for everyone on the roadway.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident Caused by a Teen Driver in Denver or Anywhere Else in Colorado
In a perfect world, parents and teen drivers would heed the CDC’s warnings and take precautions so that motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers would be reduced or eliminated.
But if you are injured in a car crash with a teen driver, you should contact a Denver accident attorney for advice and assistance as soon as possible after the accident.