California readers are already very familiar with the risks of texting and other cellphone use while driving. Particularly for teens, being distracted while behind the wheel can have serious consequences and can affect many lives. Recent car accidents around the country have reminded drivers and parents that it is not worth the risk to text from behind the wheel.
If you have read our San Diego personal injury blog for any length of time, you are probably well aware of the high risk of car accident, injury and death faced by teen drivers in California and across the country. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, according to federal data. Many traffic safety officials attribute the elevated crash risk to alcohol use or distraction in teen drivers, and those are certainly some of the main causes of accidents involving teens. However, it is important not to overlook the other factors that play into teen crashes.
If you have read our San Diego personal injury blog for any period of time, you are probably aware that distracted driving awareness and prevention is a major focus of traffic safety agencies both in California and at the federal level. Now, with the release of a new survey on texting and driving in teenagers, this focus will likely become even more intense as government officials work to prevent distracted driving-related car accidents, injuries and fatalities.
In 2000, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) began rating the states in terms of their graduated driver's license laws and other legislation specifically applicable to teenage drivers. During the first ranking, six states and the District of Columbia earned a rating of 'good,' while six were ranked 'poor.' In the most recent assessment, 36 states and D.C. were rated 'good' and no states were rated 'poor.'
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of teenagers killed in car accidents in which they or another teen were behind the wheel decreased significantly. Government officials believe that the drop in fatal accidents involving teen drivers was largely the result of graduated driver's licensing laws, which were passed or strengthened by many states during that decade.
Any of our San Diego readers who have been paying attention to news stories and government releases in the past year will likely be surprised by the fact that teenage drivers are among the most dangerous motorists in the country. For many years, the primary cause of the increased auto accident risk among teen drivers was a lack of driving skill and experience.
It is not really surprising that teenagers are involved in a disproportionate number of car accidents in California and throughout the U.S. But according to two new studies, the driver's inexperience is not solely to blame for the high accident rate. Teenage drivers are most likely to be involved in car crashes when they have other teenage passengers in their vehicles.
Although every state has some form of graduated licensing laws for teenage drivers, a new report indicates that stricter laws could save 2,000 lives if implemented universally throughout the country. However, a youth rights association is opposing the move toward stricter laws for teen drivers, stating that such limitations are discriminatory to members of that age group.
In honor of the third annual National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is taking place this week in California and throughout the country, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has planned several events to encourage teenagers and their parents to take traffic safety seriously. According to the CHP, auto accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for drivers between the ages of 15 and 20, and teenage drivers are involved in three times as many deadly car crashes than all other drivers.