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Combine the prom, graduation ceremonies, and summer school vacations, and you have the perfect storm for teenage car accidents. Sadly, young drivers lead the pack in fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to this grim season between June and September as the “100 deadliest days” for teen traffic accidents.
While Wyoming has the highest percentage of teen driving fatalities, no state, including Illinois, is immune. Any crash resulting in catastrophic injuries or death, especially to a person under age 20, is a tragedy.
Teen Car Accident Causes
Speed, alcohol, and distracted driving are considered the leading cause of teen driving accidents. A recent National Institute of Health study showed that teenagers increase their risk of crashing sevenfold by reaching for objects while driving, be it coffee or a phone. The study found that teenagers who use their phones to dial, text, or browse the internet while driving doubled their crash risk.
Teens also forget or avoid using life-saving seatbelts. And, due to their inexperience behind the wheel, they can underestimate or are unable to recognize hazardous driving conditions, like dark streets, and weather conditions like rain, sleet, and ice.
Role of the Parents
Illinois offers a free Parent-Teen Driving Guide which includes information about the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program and other safety information. Parents can also help teens stay safe by creating driving rules that penalize them with a loss of driving privileges if those rules are broken.
Further help is available from the Center for Disease Control which offers a “Parents Are Key” campaign, including Parent-Teen Driving Agreements which set written expectations and establish a commitment to safe driving practices.
What Teens Should Do After an Accident
If all the safety talks and planning fail and an accident occurs, a teenage driver will likely be scared and confused. If they caused the accident, they may be upset that they damaged the vehicle, and injured or possibly killed someone. Even after a minor accident, they may face an angry driver who blames them for the crash.
It is critical that parents make sure their children know the steps to take immediately after an accident and to call you for guidance and support.
Contact a Lawyer
If the accident resulted in injuries or death, contact a lawyer. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Smith LaCien LLP have extensive experience representing victims of car crashes. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to accident victims and their families, and handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (312) 509-8900 or contact us using our online form.
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