Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office of Highway Safety. In 2014, the most recent year for which final statistics are available, there were 23,679 motor vehicle accidents involving drivers under the age of 21 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Those accidents resulted in 97 deaths and 7,118 injuries. Nationwide, the latest statistics are from 2013. The federal government reports that there were 2,163 deaths and 243,243 emergency room visits for 16- to 19-year-olds that year.
Common Causes of Teen Car Crashes
Each accident involving a teen driver is unique—just as it is for a driver of any age. However, some of the common causes of teen accidents may include:
- Distraction because of texting, talking, or otherwise using a cell phone.
- Distraction because of vehicle passengers.
- Distraction because of GPS device.
- Distraction because of the radio, iPod, or other music.
- Failing to recognize the warning signs of a negligent driver traveling close by.
Of course, more than one of the causes listed above may apply to a single car crash.
The reasons why teen drivers do these things vary. In some cases it is immaturity, in some cases it is a feeling of invincibility, and in some cases it may just be negligence.
How to Prevent Teen Auto Accidents
You can help protect your new teen driver from being in a car crash by:
- Having your teen drive the family car, rather than his own car.
- Making sure your child understands all of the impacts of drinking and driving.
- Making sure your child understands the Kentucky Graduated License Law.
- Establishing family driving hours.
- Adding driving privileges as your child’s skills improve.
Additionally, you can lead by example. You can show your child good driving habits beginning at an early age, and you can make sure that your child gets plenty of on the road driving experience before driving without you, or a responsible adult, in the car.
And You Can Encourage Your Child Always to Wear a Seat Belt
It is important that your child understands the importance of wearing a seat belt in case an accident does occur. According to the Kentucky State Police, only about 67 percent of drivers and passengers wear their seat belts in Kentucky. This is well below the national average; in fact, only two states—Mississippi and Massachusetts—have lower seat belt usage rates than Kentucky.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has identified seven things that states can do to create effective teen seat belt campaigns. Those things include:
- Strengthening existing seat belt laws and the enforcement of seat belt laws.
- Using peer-to-peer efforts to encourage teens to wear seat belts.
- Encouraging parental participation. Teens might not like to admit it, but parents are still influential in their lives—particularly when they can take the keys away from drivers who do not use seat belts.
- Community involvement. The problem is not just limited to teens. Everyone in the community can benefit from seat belt education and enforcement.
- Using social media. Social media is a powerful way to get a message across.
- Providing incentives for seat belt use. Some young drivers who still view themselves as immortal may wear a seat belt if there is an incentive for doing so.
- Providing resources for diverse audiences. This way everyone has access to this important information.
As a parent, you can also make wearing a seat belt a family rule.
How to Recover If You’re Hurt in a Crash With a Teen Driver
If you’ve been hurt in a crash with a teen driver—or any other driver—in Kentucky, then you need to know what you may recover in damages if you’ve been hurt. The value of your case will depend on the unique damages that you’ve suffered. It could include your past, current, and future:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost income.
- Out-of-pocket costs.
- Pain and suffering.
However, in order to recover damages through an insurance settlement or in court, you are going to have to take action. You will need to provide proof about what caused your accident, and you will need to make persuasive arguments to convince the insurance company or court of the value of your damages.
You don’t, however, have to do this alone. Instead, you can contact an experienced car accident lawyer for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and recovery. Please contact us anytime via this website or at 888-450-4456 for more information.