Any traffic fatality is catastrophic but when it is a car crash involving a young driver or passenger, the incident is even more tragic. It is during the summer months, though, or as Massachusetts officials term as the “100 deadliest days,” that most teen accidents occur since school is out and more novice drivers take to the roadways.
A nationwide average of 10 teen drivers die each day in traffic accidents or about 2500 to 5000 fatal accidents involving teen drivers occurring annually, according to accident statistics reported between 1975 and 2014. Most are due to inexperience, immaturity and distractions such as the use of cell phones. Many teens speed to show off to friends or to experience the rush of a fast moving vehicle and the feeling of invulnerability that accompanies much of the risky behavior undertaken by teens and young adults. Underage drinking that results in accidents are a common cause as well.
Are Teens Driving To Early?
Graduated driving license (GDL) programs have been instrumental in reducing highway deaths. In Massachusetts, the Junior Operator Law requires 40-hours of supervised driving. Teen drivers cannot drive without an adult passenger between 12:30a.m. and 5 a.m., a period when many fatal accidents occur. Only family members can be passengers for the first 6 months of driving. Many highway traffic experts do not like that these laws are not considered primary enforcement violations, meaning that a patrol officer must observe the driver to have committed some other traffic offense before stopping the vehicle. The director of the state’s Highway Safety Division, Jeff Larason, commented that other states with primary enforcement laws have seen drastic decreases in teen fatal accidents.
9 Tips On Car Accidents from a Lawyer
Parents can play a major role in reducing the chances of a car crash involving a young driver. Teens usually listen to their parents if it means loss of certain privileges but especially if the parent emphasizes or illustrates that certain risky practices can lead to harmful consequences.
Here are some tips that your teen should observe:
- Never get in a vehicle with a drunk or impaired driver–call Uber or Lyft or a taxi service.
- Use seat belts. Massachusetts drivers are notorious for not buckling up and many teens follow suit. A seat belt can significantly reduce the chance of a serious injury or fatality.
- Do not speed. Resist the temptation to speed at any time. Explain how much a speeding ticket costs, that insurance premiums will increase and that serious accidents are more likely.
- Avoid distractions. These include playing loud music as well as use of a cell phone to text, call or check email messages. Cars can travel the length of a football field in the time it takes to just check your phone and taking your eyes off the road. Be a role model and refrain from any use of your own cell phone while driving.
- Avoid driving at night. Yes, the crazies do come out at night as do drunk drivers. Visibility is limited as well. About 17% of fatal teen accidents occur between 9 p.m. and midnight and 26 percent between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Restrict the number of passengers. The more is not the merrier when it comes to safe driving since the higher number of passengers can result in more distractions.
- Do not drive if circumstances dictate against it. For instance, feeling tired or having ingested drugs or alcohol are recipes for disaster. If it is snowing outside or you know the roads are icy or it has just begun to rain, remind your teen of the dangers of slick roadways.
- Use appropriate footwear. This means no flip flops or sandals since straps can become trapped under the accelerator or brake.
- Drive a well-maintained car. Be sure the tires have proper tread, the gas tank has enough gas, brakes are in good working condition and there are no other mechanical problems. Teens maybe driving used vehicles and may not be concerned with or even aware of its condition.
Many of these tips are commonsense but these can be lost on a teen who is excited about the freedom that cars afford and the opportunity to have a good time with friends. Remind your teen about those drivers whose careless and risky behaviors led to traumatic brain injuries, paralysis and gruesome deaths.
Damages in car accidents vary depending on many different factors. If you had a loved one who suffered a fatal accident, then the administrator for the decedent’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the immediate family members. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses for final treatment
- Loss of financial support
- Pain and suffering if the decedent was observed to have consciously suffered before succumbing
- Loss of the decedent’s love, guidance, counseling and emotional support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent
Contact Car Accident Lawyer Neil Burns
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact the law offices of Neil Burns, an experienced and seasoned car accident lawyer who can handle your case from inception to settlement or trial. Mr. Burns has obtained millions in compensation for his clients over his 30 years of practice. Call his office for a free analysis of your claim: (617) 227-7423.