Statistics show that teen drivers are at greater risk for car accidents than drivers in any other age group, which is why the state of Washington has specific laws that apply to teenage drivers. These laws aim to reduce risks, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes education for both teens and their parents as a method of prevention.
According to the CDC, drivers who are 16 to 19 years old are more likely than any other drivers to be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Teens at greatest risk are males, those who are newly licensed and teen drivers who are driving with passengers in their vehicle. Many of the risk factors for teen drivers are related to behavior and attitudes. Teens are less likely to recognize hazardous driving situations than older drivers, and are more likely to engage in risky behavior while driving like speeding or following too closely behind other vehicles. They are also less likely to wear seat belts.
Driving under the influence for teens is even riskier than it is for adult drivers. Teens who drink and drive are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than older drivers who drive under the influence. The CDC recommends zero tolerance laws for blood alcohol content in drivers under the age of 21.
Laws that restrict some driving privileges for newly licensed teens are determined under each state’s graduated driver licensing program. The CDC suggests that parents be aware of their state’s GDL laws and educate their teens on the laws and safe driving practices.
In addition to the drivers themselves, many auto accidents caused by negligent teenage motorists result in fatalities to others. The surviving family members of a person killed in such an accident may want to meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss the advisability of seeking compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit.