Although many teenage drivers are very responsible and obey the rules of the road, statistics show that they account for a disproportionately large number of car accidents. And the cost of teenage driving accidents is not insignificant. Too many teenagers lose their lives each year, and some are the cause of serious injuries inflicted to themselves and others. In the worst case scenario, innocent passengers, pedestrians and bikers are killed. Victims of negligent teen driving can take legal action and recover money for their losses. There are some instances in which a claim may be brought against adults who allowed alcohol to be served to an underage individual who subsequently causes a car accident.
According to the CDC in 2016 although teenagers accounted for only 6.5% of the population, they were responsible for 8.4% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.
The Dangers of Teenage Driving
Statistics on the dangers of teenage driving are revealed within the Teen Driving Fact Sheet and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illustrating the dangers presented by teenage drivers. According to the data:
- Car accidents where there were teens behind the wheel cost $14 billion annually in medical bills and decreased or lost productivity;
- Teenagers between sixteen (16) and nineteen (19) are four times as likely to suffer fatal injuries in a car accident than adults are;
- In the United States, eight teenagers between sixteen (16) and nineteen (19) die each day due to car accidents;
- Auto accidents account for one out of every three teen deaths in the U.S.;
- Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death for teens and young adults between the ages of 16-20.
A Manhattan Teen Driving Accident Lawyer may be able to recover damages for a teen driver’s negligence or for their parents’ vicarious liability for the teen’s negligence. To show that a teen driver was negligent, it must be shown that they owed you a duty of care; that duty was breached and you were injured as a result. Perhaps the inexperienced and aggressive teen driver was tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic, texting while driving or just not operating their vehicle appropriately given the traffic conditions.
All vehicles on the road must have auto insurance and because a teen’s auto insurance is very cost prohibitive, landing them in the expensive New York Automobile Insurance Plain (NYAIP), they may be listed on their parent’s auto policy of insurance. The minimum auto policy insurance limit in New York is $25,000/$50,000, which means that each person in the car that was injured as a result of the teen driver that negligently hit you can get up to $25,000 for injuries sustained. Additionally, if you have Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage under your automobile policy of insurance, and your injuries, pain, and suffering exceed the teen driver’s auto policy limits, you may be able to collect under your own policy.
Discuss Texting and Driving
One of the most common causes of catastrophic accidents involves texting and driving. This completely preventable activity is the cause of thousands of catastrophic injuries and deaths throughout the United States. Long before your teenager ever touches the steering wheel of a car, you should begin the talks regarding texting and driving. Show them statistics and explain to them the dangers. Be a good influence and never text and drive yourself. Make it a policy that no one uses their cell phone in the car. Take time with your teenager to drive this point home, because teenagers’ brains are simply not developed enough to truly understand risk the same way adults can.
Driver’s Education Course
Consider having your teenager take an official driver’s education course where they will learn skills and safety in a classroom as well as have preparation regarding in-car training. These driver’s education course can oftentimes be extremely helpful regarding the safety of teenagers.
Several different mobile apps now allow a parent to see if a teenager is driving while texting, driving outside specific and established parameters, or speeding. Consider visiting with your teenager about installing these apps on both of your phones.
Sign A Safe Driving Contract
Before you hand over those keys, consider having both you and your teenager sign a parent-teen contract that establishes all of the ground rules regarding driving. These contracts are available for free online.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
No matter how much preparation you do, accidents do happen. If your teenager was involved in a car accident contact an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Michael J. Redenburg. We can help you understand the legal rights of your elderly loved one, and help you determine your next steps.