Teen Auto Accidents: Changing Lives Forever
It is estimated that 5,000 teenagers die a year in auto accidents. In the U.S., almost 13 percent of all fatal crashes are alcohol-related, and 40 percent of that number involve teens drinking and driving.
When a teenager is involved in an auto accident where they are injured or they injure and kill someone else, it can change their life forever.
As one trauma nurse puts it, "They aren't motor vehicle accidents..." "Crashes aren't accidents. They are the result of choices. Every choice comes with consequences." Almost all car accidents are preventable, as the vast majority of crashes are caused by people's carelessness. While a teen driver that causes a preventable crash may not be a bad person, an accident may show that the teen exercised bad driving judgement at a critical time. When a teen driver is not being attentive, an innocent person can be hurt or killed by their negligence.
There are a few factors that contribute to the majority of teen auto accidents:
- Lack of driving experience
- Teens overestimate their skill level
- Drinking and Driving
- Reckless Driving
Last May in California, a 17 year-old girl driving a large SUV drove through a red light and slammed into a small sedan carrying a 24 year-old girl and a 22 year-old boy. The 24 year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene and the boy died later at the hospital.
The light had been red for quite some time, and it was obvious to the police that the girl had been distracted with something, possibly texting, when she went through the light. The victims had a green light and were already half-way through the intersection when they were hit. The girl could be charged with vehicular manslaughter and spend several years in state prison. Three lives changed forever because someone made the choice to be distracted instead of focusing entirely on the road.
Parents should be vigilant about their teenagers and their driving habits. While they cannot be in the car with them at all times, they can communicate with them about the importance of safety and obeying traffic rules and they can also construct a driving agreement.
The driving agreement is set up between parents and teens and basically lays down the rules for driving and the use of the car and states the consequences that will have to be paid if the rules are broken.
Rules that parents can create for their teenagers:
- Don't speed
- Wear seat belts
- No using cell phones or any handheld device
- Don't drink and drive
- Don't engage in road rage behavior
- When changing lanes, be cautious and alert
- If fatigued, pull over to the side of the road
Teenage driving death is almost like an epidemic. One way to stop an epidemic is through education. There are many states throughout the country that have more intense driving programs for teens. Graduated systems where they can drive for a certain amount of time with certain rules and then "graduate" to more responsibility when they are a little bit older. Between parents and educational programs there are a diverse number of approaches to preventing teenage auto accidents.
Montlick & Associates has a number safety initiatives as part of its Family Safety program that are designed to help promote safe driving in your household. Here are links to some of our videos and tools that you may find extremely helpful:
Parent's guides to Georgia's Tadra (graduated driving system) Law that applies to all teen drivers:
Index to all of our car safety videos:
The attorneys at Montlick and Associates assist those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast who are seriously injured or killed in car crashes. If you or someone you love is injured in a Georgia car accident, call Montlick & Associates today to see how we can help. Our Georgia auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.