According to an April Star-Telegram article, teen road accidents are on the rise, with more than 76,000 accidents and 144 teen fatalities in Texas alone in 2015. The recent increase in traffic accidents involving teen drivers has led parents and safe-driving groups across the state to focus more of their efforts on educating teens behind the wheel. By being aware of a few of the most common causes of teen car accidents and injuries, both teens and parents of teenagers can take steps to reduce these risks.
In Texas alone, it is estimated that one in every five traffic accidents stems from distracted driving; 58 people were killed in 2015 as a result of distracted teen driving. Specifically, distracted driving refers to any activity that takes the driver’s undivided attention away from the road. Among teens, some of the most common sources of distraction while driving include checking and posting to social media, texting, and otherwise using their cell phones. The best way for teens to avoid distracted driving is to put their phones away while driving—and either place them on “silent” mode or shut them off altogether while behind the wheel. This helps to minimize the temptation to reach for the phone while driving.
Failure to obey posted speed limit signs is yet another common cause of teen driving crashes in Texas and throughout the country. In fact, in 25% of all fatal teen car crashes in Texas, about 25% of them were somehow related to speeding. This is especially unfortunate because these types of accidents are so easily preventable. Speeding drastically reduces reaction time while driving and makes it more difficult to safely stop a vehicle on short notice when needed. It also leads to higher impact crashes, which are more likely to be serious or even fatal. Teen drivers should always be instructed to follow posted speed limits and to adjust speeds even more when necessary (such as in slick road conditions or areas of low visibility).
Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Not only is failing to wear a seatbelt against the law—it is downright reckless. It is difficult to imagine, then, that among all teens killed in traffic accidents in Texas in 2015, nearly half of them were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of impact. This drastically increases the chances of ejection from the vehicle in the event of an accident, which can lead to severe trauma and fatal injuries. Teens learning how to drive in Texas should always be reminded of the state’s stringent seatbelt laws. In fact, thanks to a bill passed in 2009, both drivers and passengers in a vehicle (including those in the back seat) must wear a seatbelt at all times.
These are just a few of the leading causes of teen car accidents, injuries, and fatalities among teen drivers. Parents and driving instructors everywhere have a responsibility to ensure that all new teen drivers understand the great responsibility that comes with operating a motor vehicle. And in today’s age, where teens are seemingly glued to their mobile devices, enacting strict rules against texting and using phones while driving is a must.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in the Dallas area and are injured as a result, make sure you have the right legal team on your side. Contact Guajardo & Marks, LLP today to find out more about what we can do for you.