We've all been there - driving down the road only to look over at the driver next to you to see a young person looking at his or her phone, chatting with friends, jamming out to music or otherwise ignoring the road ahead. We may shake our heads and have a "when I was his/her age" moment. This thought could lead to a more concerning question: are teen drivers getting worse?
According to a recent study, the answer may be yes. The study dug into data about teen drivers. The report was put together by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit that focuses on highway safety issues throughout the country. The organization scoured through data on car accidents from the past ten years.
According to their findings, teen-involved auto accidents resulting in fatalities were up 10 percent in 2015. This is the first uptick recorded since 2006.
Top reason for the spike: Researchers with the study note the lack of experience that teen drivers have will negatively impact their driving ability. This puts them at a greater risk of involvement in a crash.
Two suggestions to stop the spike: The study also provided some specific steps that can be taken to help reverse this trend.
One possibility is to increase "smart programs." These programs should aim at teaching novice drivers "hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management and space management." Once drivers have these skills, advocates of these programs contend that the risk of these accidents will decline.
Another suggestion involved the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This program is used in all 50 states. It requires that teens complete a three step process to get their license. The program often ends at age 18. The study calls for this program to be expanded to include all drivers under the age of 21.
One tangible remedy for victims: Those who are involved in these accidents have options. One remedy involves holding the driver accountable through a personal injury lawsuit. Drivers that are distracted because they are on their phones, driving too fast or driving while intoxicated can be held responsible for the injuries they cause. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and determine the best course of action for your situation.