Teen drivers are typically at a higher risk for being involved in an auto accident than more experienced drivers. This may be true for a number of reasons, but mostly for lack of experience. An inexperienced driver may have a more difficult time judging the necessary time to stop, how to navigate their car on snow or ice, or what to do when driving around big trucks, amongst many other potential hazards they may face while driving.
But experience alone is not the only reason that teens ages 16 through 19 are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than are drivers ages 20 and over; distractions are a huge part of the problem as well.
The Facts About Teens and Distracted Driving
A person of any age has the potential to be distracted while driving – it’s easy to answer the phone, change the radio, rubberneck at something going on outside your window, or check a text. However, statistics show that teens are especially likely to engage in distracted driving. In fact, data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), states that 10 percent of drivers ages 15 through 19 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of collision; this age group represented the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal accident.
The most common types of distracted driving that affect teens include:
- Talking to other passengers (usually teens) within the vehicle;
- Watching a video;
- Talking on a cellphone;
- Playing a game (yes, teens and adults alike have actually used their phones to play games, such as Pokémon Go, while operating a motor vehicle); and
Of these, texting while driving is the most common form of distraction and one of the most deadly.
Texting and Driving: A Killer on Connecticut Roads
When cellphones and texting became ubiquitous, the rates of texting while driving – and the accidents related to texting – increased dramatically. The NHTSA reports that since 2007, the rate of young drivers who text while driving has been consistently greater than the rate of older drivers who text while driving, and a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation found that nearly 50 percent of teen drivers admitted to reading a text message while behind the wheel of a car.
Driving While Distracted is a Huge Danger
Driving while distracted, whether by a cellphone or another distraction type, is a huge danger and is taking the lives of our teens and others. Research shows that using a cellphone to text while operating a car increases the risk of crash by 23 times, and statistics published by Distraction.gov (cited above) highlight the fact that in a single year, more than 431,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers, and more than 3,170 were killed.
In Connecticut, teen drivers are banned from texting while driving. In fact, teens in the state are banned from using any type of wireless communication device, such as a cellphone or tablet, while driving, including hands-free devices. However, this law may not be enough to deter teens from making the smart choice and driving distraction-free.
Talk to Your Teen About Distracted Driving
If you are a parent of a teen in Connecticut, it is your responsibility to have a discussion with your child about safe driving, including distracted driving. Make sure your child understands the risks of distracted driving. There could also be legal consequences if they are caught using a cellphone while behind the wheel. You should also establish some guidelines for your child, such as limiting the number of passengers in a vehicle at a given time.
Contact The APEX Law Firm Today
At The APEX Law Firm, we hope that you and your family stay safe and that no one you love is ever impacted by an auto accident. If you are involved in a crash with a distracted driver, our experienced Connecticut auto accident attorneys can help you to recover the compensation you deserve. Please call our law office today for a free consultation at (860) 900-0900 in Hartford County or contact us online.