AAA, or the American Automobile Association, has been around nearly as long as when the first automobile appeared on American roads. For 95 years, AAA has promoted and lobbied for safety in improved automobile design and features as well as funding educational and instructional programs for motorists and young pedestrians in high schools and elementary schools. In the latest iteration of its safety message to young people and teen drivers, AAA Northeast has announced its annual AAA Traffic Safety Poster and Video Contest to run through April 7, 2017.
The contest is open to students in K-12th grade and offers a $1000 first prize to each grade category and prizes of $300, $200 and $100 to runner-up winners. Entries are open now and may be submitted on its website that also includes the topics and rules for each grade. The winning videos and posters will be part of AAA’s traffic education and car accident safety programs and will be included on its website. Here are the Law Office of Neil Burns we ran a “Distracted Driving Scholarship”. We received hundreds of applicants and helped raise awareness for these preventable types of car accidents at colleges around the country.
Car accident safety topics include associated dangers while on the roadways including not wearing seatbelts, improper use of booster seats, not wearing bike helmets and the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. Pedestrian skills are another topic. The winners are determined by votes from AAA members and site visitors with voting scheduled to begin April 24 and running through May 8. Voting is on the AAA Northeast website. Winners will be announced on May 24, 2017.
Any school can have AAA staff members host a free safety traffic safety course or program by partnering with local police departments and community centers. It is never too early nor too late to educate young children and teen drivers about traffic safety and how to prevent accidents from happening.
Teen Drivers and Young Children are at High Risk
Any time you learn a new skill, there is a learning curve involved. Knowing what to do as a pedestrian is no different than learning how to drive. For example, young children should not cross the street without an adult but if with other kids or adults, they need to cross only on marked crosswalks when the walk signal permits it. If no light is present, then making eye contact with a motorist is essential before crossing. When riding a bicycle, stay in the designated bike lanes and stop for all traffic lights and signs. Do not ride on sidewalks unless signs state that bike riding is permitted. And, of course, always wear a helmet.
Teen drivers are the most vulnerable group to injuries and deaths in auto collisions. Car accidents are the number one cause of teen deaths in the US. Inexperience is a major factor but others include:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Faulty equipment including worn tires and defective braking and steering systems
- Failure to wear a seat belt
Teens typically drive older vehicles that may have mechanical problems or worn tire treads. Not having the experience in knowing when a car needs to be serviced is common among younger drivers. Teens should be taught by a parent about regularly servicing a vehicle and being aware of mechanical problems that can cause accidents.
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs are easily accessible to anyone, regardless of age, and are major factors in teen car accidents. Although the risks of impaired driving are pounded into every motorist, deaths from intoxicated driving continue to plague communities. MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a group instrumental in having states across the nation impose stricter drunk driving laws, reports that 25% of fatal teen car accidents stem from drunk driving.
Other statistics show that 13.5% of 12th graders report that they have driven a car after drinking. In conjunction with drinking and driving, it is alarming that 70% of teen drivers killed in drunk driving accidents were not wearing a seat belt.
Distracted driving has become a menace that may have exceeded that of drunk or drug-impaired driving. This can include the following activities while driving:
- Calling someone on a cell phone
- Looking at maps or GPS system
- Talking to passengers
- Watching a video
- Eating and drinking
- Changing clothes
Smartphone use is ubiquitous among teens who have grown up with the technology. 56% of teens admit to talking on a cell phone while driving and nearly one-third of high school aged motorists admit to texting or emailing while behind the wheel. This is so despite 94% of teens acknowledging that texting and driving is dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 600,000 drivers at any time of the day are using their smartphones in some fashion.
Motorists who text while driving take their eyes off the roadway for an average of 5 seconds. A vehicle traveling at 60 mph will cover 440 feet, more than enough to miss a hazard such as a red light, a stopped or merging vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist.
Damages in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Compensation in an injury car accident depends on numerous factors including proof of liability and the severity and nature of the injuries. If you missed time from work or are unable to return to your employment because of an impairment, this can dramatically increase your damages. The cost of medical treatment and if future surgeries, care and rehabilitation is necessary are major considerations as well as how your enjoyment of life has changed or diminished. Also, your car accident lawyer can find sources of available and potential compensation.
Your damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Exacerabation of a pre-existing condition
- Psychological trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Consult Boston Lawyer Neil Burns
Car accident lawyer Neil Burns has handled thousands of car accident claims over his 30-years of practice in Boston and the surrounding communities. Find out why so many clients return to Mr. Burns and refer their friends and family members to him. His compassion and dedication to ensuring that their claims are handled with the utmost care has earned him the trust and confidence you want in a car accident lawyer.