What factors put teen drivers at risk?

  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
  • Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash and 25% had been drinking.
  • Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
  • In 2012, 23% of drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes were drinking.
  • In a national survey conducted in 2013, 22% of teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Among students who drove, 10% reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.
  • In 2012, 71% of drivers aged 15 to 20 were killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.
  • In 2012, 49% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 53% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

The study's researchers worry that current awareness programs don't sufficiently highlight the dangers of distractions that don't involve cell phones. These distractions range from the activities above to tasks such as adjusting the radio or using a GPS. Furthermore, on their own, teens may not fully recognize the dangers of these activities.

Promisingly, researchers found that a short, interactive course could help young people better understand the risks of multitasking while driving. This result suggests that more comprehensive safety campaigns and driver's education programs could help reduce distracted driving among teens. Unfortunately, at present, distraction may represent a common issue among these drivers.

Recourse after accidents

Accidents that involve these unusual distractions can be just as catastrophic as accidents that occur when drivers use cell phones. Fortunately, victims may have legal recourse, regardless of whether a distraction is explicitly illegal. Distracted driving can represent negligence if it creates a clear, unnecessary danger and causes harm to others. Negligent inattentive drivers may be liable for any injuries that passengers or people in other vehicles suffer.

Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driving?

If you've been hurt by a distracted driver you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island. 

Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.