The National Transportation Safety Board has put out a “Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements” regarding driving hazards that citizens in North Carolina and elsewhere can improve upon.
The third topic of our series is teen driver safety and what can be done to reduce the number of teen car accidents in North Carolina and throughout the country. Other topics deserving attention in the series are motorcycle safety, drunk driving accidents, and bus safety.
Parents can only hope that their teens make safe and responsible decisions every time they get behind the wheel to drive. Our Gastonia personal injury lawyers know this isn’t always the case as in many instances teen drivers lack the experience and the presence of mind to avoid a car accident.
WSOC recently reported about the fatal crash in Charlotte involving a teen driver who went off the side of the road, hit a pole and killed the owner of the vehicle he was driving in. No one knows why the two were riding in the car together or why the teen borrowed the car in the first place. The teen was arrested and charged with DWI, hit-and-run and death by motor vehicle. The young driver not only allegedly made a poor decision to drive under the influence but also tried to run away following the crash.
Obtaining a driver’s license is a privilege for most teens, but with that freedom comes a high risk of injury for the young driver, other motorists and passengers riding in the car with the young driver. Recent statistics show that eight teens are fatally injured in car crashes every day, making car accidents the leading cause of death for that age group.
Teens are more likely to die in a car crash than to die from the use of drugs, cancer or violence. In the last decade, teen drivers have made up less than 7 percent of the driving population but account for over 13 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Teen car crashes are often considered preventable because they often occur when a teen is distracted, speeding or driving under the influence. Over 58,000 young drivers were killed in car accidents from 2000-2009, all between the ages of 15-20 years old.
Many states have adopted a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program which has been an effective way of teaching young drivers the dangers of driving, as well as, allowing them to gain experience at a gradual level. The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act is a bill that will soon be introduced to the U.S House of Representatives that would mandate all states to have a GDL program in place and would require consistency with minimum federal requirements to be met.
The advantage to a GDL program is that it starts teens at a novice level, allowing them to drive in low-risk situations and gradually builds on the driving experiences and responsibilities of certain situations as the young driver matures. A recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that strong state GDL programs lower the rate of teen car accidents by roughly 40 percent.
Parents and teens in the early stages of the beginning to drive process are encouraged to visit Keys2Drive, an online guide to teen driver safety.
Contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. if you or your child has been involved in a car accident in North Carolina. We represent victims and their families throughout the state so call for a free initial consultation at 1-800-887-1965.
Statewide Graduated Driver License Laws Could Reduce the Risk of Teen Car Accidents in North Carolina, Nationwide, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 20, 2011
Teens at High Risk of Greensboro Car Accidents in Summer, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2011
Drinking and Driving a Leading Cause of North Carolina Car Accidents Among Teenagers, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 24, 2011