“At some point, you will realize that you are the driver and you will drive.” This quote from Steve Maraboli highlights the importance of raising the awareness that becoming a safe teen driver is both responsibility and a possibility. Every teen driver needs to know that teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable and that he can do a lot in achieving road safety anytime.
With the observance of the National Teen Driver Awareness Month in full swing, let us have a quick look on the latest available figures to get a clear view on the prevalence of fatal car accidents among teen drivers.
- In 2016, a total of 2,433 teens with ages 16–19 were killed while 292,742 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in car crashes in the United States.
- On average, 6 teenagers die every day due to motor vehicle crashes and hundreds more were injured. Their death and injuries reach some $13.6 billion in the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.
- 16-19-year-olds have a higher risk of motor vehicle crashes than any other age group.
- There is a high risk of a fatal crash during the first months of driving among 16 – 17 year-olds.
- Almost 20 percent of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes are drinking.
- 49% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occur between 3 p.m. and midnight, and 53% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
- 58 percent of all passenger fatalities of 15- to 18-year-old passenger vehicle drivers are unrestrained.
- Driver distraction, driving too fast in relation to the road conditions, failing to focus on key visual cues. and to respond appropriately to impending hazards account for more than 75 percent of serious car accidents that involve teen drivers.
Not all is gloomy with regard to teenage driving. The top 5 states in the country for teen drivers are as follows: Washington, DC; New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Here at home, a study conducted in 2016 reports that the number of teens killed in crashes in Illinois was less than half of what it was almost a decade earlier. In that year, 76 teens died in car crashes involving a driver aged 16 to 19. That is significantly more than 50 percent lower than the number of teens killed in car crashes involving teenage drivers in 2007.
What are the factors that helped improve safe teen driving in Illinois over the years?
- “The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws imposed in 2008 were crucial in reducing the number of teen driving deaths,” Secretary of State Jesse White said.
- Those laws, enacted after the Chicago Tribune’s yearlong examination of teen driving in 2006, tripled the length of time for a learner’s permit and limited the number of passengers allowed in a car driven by teens.
- The GDL also restricted teens’ hours of night driving and raised the age at which young drivers can use cell phones behind the wheel from 18 years old to 19 years old.
Also in Illinois, new traffic laws affecting motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are now being enforced.
- Children under 2 must ride rear-facing. It requires parents to have their child’s car seat rear-facing if the child is under 2 years old.
- “Dutch Reach” method now part of driver curriculum: The “Dutch Reach” method encourages drivers and passengers to use the hand farthest from the door to reach across their body to open the door after parallel parking. This method is deemed to help prevent “dooring” crashes.
- Use of school bus signal arms and lighting. The “School Bus” sign on a school bus must be covered or concealed when the bus is being used to transport people over the age of 18 who are not using the bus in affiliation with a school or church or an activity relating to a school or church. Likewise, the stop signal arm and flashing lights should not be operable in these circumstances.
- Tougher texting and driving penalties: On July 1, 2019, drivers caught texting behind the wheel will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record. Anyone convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period may have their license suspended.
If you have been injured in a car accident, we are here for you 24/7. Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.