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Teen Drivers: Are They More Dangerous?

During the late afternoon of Friday, January 27, a Nissan Pathfinder with a teenage driver and four teenage passengers crashed into a “No Parking” sign and a telephone pole in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Four of the five teenagers were released to their parents after emergency services arrived at the scene, but one of them was transported to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. The accident occurred on Marshall Street, close to Ridgewood High School.

Sadly, vehicle-related accidents like this one are the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), young drivers (those between the ages of 15 and 20) account for only 5.1% of the country’s total number of licensed drivers, and yet they account for 8.5% of fatal crashes. In 2020, the latest year of reporting:

  • 1,885 young drivers lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents
  • 189,950 young drivers sustained injuries in crashes
  • 4,561 young drivers were involved in accidents that led to fatalities.

Dangerous Driving Habits Teens May Adopt

For many reasons, including the exhilaration they experience upon driving for the first time, teenagers are susceptible to dangerous driving habits.

These habits cause teen drivers to be a danger to themselves and to others on the road. Some of the habits they may engage in include:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on hand-held or hands-free cell phones while driving
  • Drinking and driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Driving without wearing a seatbelt
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Making changes to in-vehicle navigation systems
  • Eating while driving
  • Taking “selfies” or attempting to post to social media while driving.

Besides these bad driving practices, there are other factors that put your teen driver directly in harm’s way. These include:

  • A lack of defensive driving training
  • Inability to recognize potentially hazardous situations
  • Driving with other teen passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Driving while tired or drowsy
  • Engaging in risky driving behavior at the encouragement of their peers

The bottom line is that any time a teenager takes his or her eyes off the road, places their hands off the wheel, or stops paying attention to the task of driving, the driver and many other lives may be put at risk.

What Is Being Done to Make Teen Drivers Safer?

Fortunately, each state has enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws which allow new, inexperienced drivers to gradually earn their driving privileges. This way, a teen driver can minimize his or her risk of being involved in a crash.

Under New Jersey’s GDL program, teen drivers must go through a three-stage process before they can become fully licensed:

New Jersey's GDL Program

Additionally, in New Jersey, drivers with learner’s permits or probationary licenses who are under age 21 cannot use any electronic device – hand-held or hands-free – while driving.

Contact The New Jersey Teen Driving Accident Lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. For Help

Parental involvement is essential to teen driving safety. When parents set a good example for their teen driver, he or she will be more likely to adopt safe driving habits. Parents can set this good example by following the rules of the road, practicing defensive driving, and never using electronic devices behind the wheel or driving after drinking. They should also always wear a seatbelt.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a teen driver, you should contact an attorney without delay in order to protect your right to just compensation. Call Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., at 1-800-LAW-2000 or submit our online form to receive a free consultation.

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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.