Tragedy has struck a local community once again as a result of a fatal car accident that cost a teenage passenger his life and seriously injured two others – the driver and another passenger. The accident, during which the vehicle flipped numerous times, occurred recently in Reily Township, Butler County, and the local community is now grieving the loss of this young life. The accident is still under investigation, but officials believe that speed was likely a factor in the accident.
Special Issues Surrounding Teen Drivers
Though drivers of all ages sometimes act in ways that lend themselves to being involved in an auto accident, the statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident than others who have more practical experience behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years of age are more at risk of being involved in an auto accident than any other age group. Those individuals within this age group that fall into certain specific categories – males, drivers who are driving with other teenagers as their passengers, and newly licensed teens – are at an especially high risk for accidents.
Why Are Teens at Such a Higher Risk Than Other Drivers?
Though it is hard to argue with the statistics that teen drivers are involved in more accidents, proportionately, than drivers in other age categories, it is more important to determine why this is the case so that attempts can be made to change the trend. Studies show several factors that contribute to teenagers’ higher risk of accidents including:
- Teenagers have less experience gauging hazardous driving situations and how to handle them properly; and
- Teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behavior overall – with respect to driving, this can mean speeding, racing against other vehicles on the road, not wearing seatbelts, and drinking and driving.
Each of these behaviors on their own are dangerous enough, but a combination of them exponentially increases the chance of tragedy on the roads.
Distracted Driving – Not Just for Teens
While it is noted that teenagers and young adults have the highest percentage of accidents that occur due to distracted driving, this is not a problem specific to the younger part of the population. Drivers old and new are guilty of distracted driving, which can be visual, manual or cognitive. Visual distractions involve looking away from the road – taking your eyes off the highway for any reason, such as looking at the car radio or your cell phone, and for any length of time, whether one second or 10, is dangerous. Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel – turning your car radio’s knobs or reaching for something on the passenger seat. Cognitive distractions are quite dangerous as well – taking your mind off the task at hand by slipping into a daydream or ‘phasing out’ can quickly lead to a dangerous situation. As should be fairly obvious, most of the time distractions while driving can be a combination of two or all three of these separate types – the example of changing the radio station is a combination of both a visual or manual distraction.
Texting and Driving
The most obvious combination of driving distractions that has become a common problem for all of society is the use of cell phones – in particular, texting – while driving. This dangerous habit takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your driving. The CDC notes that texting while driving is especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions. Laws vary from state to state regarding the use of cell phones and the act of texting while driving, but the ban on texting while driving is more prevalent at this point in time than restrictions on cell phone use in general. Only about a third of the states ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving, but nearly all of the states prohibit drivers from texting while driving. Many states have restrictions on cell phone usage that are specific to drivers within certain age groups or levels of driving experience, and some have restrictions on cell phone usage specifically for school bus drivers – something that certainly makes a lot of sense given that they have the lives of our precious children in their hands, leaving no room for a cell phone, too.
What About Ohio?
So where does Ohio fall in the spectrum of cell phone laws? It is against the law for any driver of any age to text while driving. The category of school bus drivers is banned from texting just like any other driver, but they are not prohibited from using a cell phone in general. With respect to hand-held cell phones, it is up to the local jurisdictions to decide what is right for their communities, but all cell phone usage is against the law if you are a novice driver, under the age of 18 years old. A general and simple rule to follow regarding cell phone usage that will work best towards the goal of keeping the roads and everyone on them safe is to just not use them at all. Nothing is that important that it cannot wait until later.
When Accidents Strike, Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers can help you to recover for your losses. Having the proper representation can make an immeasurable difference in the outcome of your case. The determined Ohio auto accident attorneys at the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers have a wide variety of experience handling all types of accident cases. Allow our experience to benefit you and help you get the best possible results. Contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation at no cost or obligation to you and learn how we can help you get the relief you are entitled to receive.