Learning to drive – for most of us this is a teenage rite of passage. Often, too, our first fender bender is another teenage rite of passage. For many younger drivers, though, more serious accidents occur, as was the case with a Green Township teen who was recently involved in and suffered injuries as a result of a head-on crash. According to the police report, the teen lost control of his vehicle while trying to navigate curve and crossed over the center lines. As a result of the head-on collision that occurred, the teen had to be removed from his vehicle. Fortunately, he is in stable condition at an area hospital – and miraculously, the other driver was not injured in the incident. According to the report, speed, alcohol and drugs were not factors in the accident, but the teen received a citation for failing to maintain control of his vehicle.
Teen Drivers and the Risk of Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death of teenagers in the United States is auto accidents and, as recently as 2013, the total number of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 who died as a result of an auto accident was enough to average out to six per day for every day of that year. The CDC notes that the risk of crashes involving drivers in that age group is higher than for any other age group and that those especially at risk for crashes are male, teenagers driving with teenaged passengers, and newly licensed teen drivers. It is noted that the younger the driver, the more likely they will be involved in an accident; for example, accident rates for 16 year olds is much higher than the rates for 17 year olds, and likewise, the rates for 17 year old drivers is higher than that for 18 year olds. There are several factors that combine to make driving riskier for teenagers than for older drivers. Teen drivers are more likely to engage in particularly risky behaviors such as:
- Underestimating dangers and hazards on the roads;
- Speeding, particularly when riding with other male teenagers;
- Leaving too little room between vehicles;
- Failing to use seat belts; and
- Drinking and driving.
Just one of these factors alone increases the chance of being involved in or suffering injuries as a result of an accident, but in many cases, more than one of these factors may be present and exponentially increase the risks. Along with the identification of risky behaviors exhibited by teenagers that increase the chances of an automobile crash, the CDC has also identified eight leading causes of crashes involving teen drivers which they list as ‘danger zones.’ These causes are closely associated with the risky behaviors outlined above and include a lack of driving experience, driving with other teen passengers, lack of seat belt usage, driving at night or while distracted, drowsy, or impaired, and reckless driving.
A Closer Look at Ohio’s Teen Drivers
According to the Ohio Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics, Ohio has the seventh highest number of licensed drivers in the country, and seven percent of those drivers are under 21 years of age. For the group of teenagers from 15 to 18, in a 10-year span there were more than 1,000 teens who died while driving and involved in auto accidents. The study further notes that one third of those fatalities occurred in rural areas. These statistics certainly show a somber truth – something needs to be done to turn this situation around.
Ohio’s Efforts to Prevent Teen Driver Crashes
Last July, in recognition of the statistics showing increased risks for teenage drivers, Ohio announced measures that would be taken to prevent injuries and fatal crashes. New rules aimed at cutting risks associated with teens and driving include limiting the hours during which a probationary driver may be on the roads and the number and type of passengers he or she may have in the car while driving. Additional rules regarding seat belt usage requirements and mobile device usage bans are included with the new laws. Studies have shown that a high percentage of night crashes involve younger drivers, so one of the new rules is that drivers under 18 are no longer allowed to drive between midnight and six in the morning. Other versions of the bill had proposed prohibiting these drivers from being on the road after 10:00 PM, which is the time at which the crash rate begins to rise. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if there is a parent or guardian in the car with the teen driver or if they have proper documentation from church, school, or work showing that the travel during these times are for associated activities. The new laws also dictate who a teen driver may have in the car along with him or her – the teen driver may now only have one other person in the car who is not a family member. The new laws are a part of Ohio’s Drive Toward a Safer Ohio Initiative and are part of an effort to give young drivers the opportunity to gain more driving experience while reducing risks. Focusing more on safe driving practices and cutting down on distractions and factors associated with crashes will help younger drivers to become safer drivers.
When Auto Accidents Occur, Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident and has suffered injuries as a result, the Toledo, Ohio auto accident legal professionals at the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers can help. Let our years of experience work to your advantage to help you get the results you deserve. Our attorneys have handled auto accident and personal injury cases of all types and know the most important factors to look for in any type of matter. Allow us to review and assess your case during your no obligation consultation to get you moving towards recovery for your losses. Do not delay – contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers to get started today.