Inexperience and Distractions Are Leading Causes of Car Accidents Involving Teens

July 30, 2012

Auto Accidents

Car accidents and teen driversIt’s no surprise to most adults that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.  Although National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show only about six percent of licensed drivers are 15 to 20 years old, those drivers make up nearly 13 percent of traffic accident fatalities.  In Ohio, from 2005 to 2010, accidents involving teen drivers killed 1,048 people.

Reckless driving and alcohol, however, are not the major causes of the accidents, according to a recent NHTSA study of 800 serious car crashes involving teen drivers.  Although speeding can be a factor, the study found 76% of the accidents were due to a critical teen driving error, and that inexperience and distractions (cell phone use, texting, eating and drinking, grooming, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player, or interacting with teen passengers) were the major causes of the car crashes studied.

In April 2007, new Graduated Driver Licensing laws became effective in Ohio instituting a three-stage licensing system starting at 15½ years of age with full licensing at age 18.

Restrictions prohibit more than one passenger for drivers under 17 and disallow unsupervised nighttime driving for those 16 and 17.  In the learner’s permit stage, a teen must have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice.  Many believe even stricter laws should be enacted to curtail teen accidents such as requiring teenagers to be age 16 for entry into the learner’s permit stage and extending all restrictions on teen drivers through age 17.

As of September 1, 2012 a ban on texting for all Ohio drivers will go into effect making Ohio the 39th state to take such action.  Also on September 1, 2012, all cell phone use (hands-free and hand-held) by novice drivers will be prohibited.  I-pads, laptops and computer tablets will also be included in the ban.  (Novice drivers are those with learner’s permits or probationary licenses who have never had a full license.)

If your teen is in an accident, he/she needs to know protective measures to take.  Tell your teen to:

  1. Call the police and call a parent.  Do not agree to accept payment from the other driver in lieu of calling the police.  Do not leave the scene before police arrive and insist that an accident report be written.  Ask for a copy of the report and the report number.
  2. Get names, addresses and phone number of witnesses.  Independent witnesses are often the best source in establishing who is at fault.
  3. Obtain insurance information from the other person or people.  The law requires that an insurance card be kept in every vehicle.  Copy down all the information from the other driver’s insurance card.
  4. Report physical injuries to the police.  Police are normally required to identify injuries resulting from an accident.  A teen should be told not to worry that his/her parents will be angry with them about the accident.  Parents will want the teen to seek treatment if he/she is hurt.  Delaying could make injuries more severe.
  5. Report all injuries and symptoms to medical care providers at the scene of the car accident.

If you or someone you know is involved in a car accident anywhere in Ohio, it is advisable to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Please contact the Ohio accident law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or sending a Blog Message to set up a time to talk with an attorney that will protect your interests.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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