New Safety Classes For Texas Teen Drivers
- May 8, 2013
- Car Accidents
As of March 1 of this year, Texas residents aged 18 to 24 must pass a special safety course before they can receive a driver’s license. The mandatory six-hour course includes instruction on alcohol and drug awareness, Texas traffic laws and issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents. This new requirement aims to reduce the number of accidents among young drivers and to make the road safer for everyone.
Each year, thousands of young drivers die in automobile accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, automobile accidents account for nearly 33 percent of deaths among teenagers nationwide.
Unfortunately, Texas is not immune to the problems caused by young drivers. Nearly 500 teenagers are killed in automobile crashes each year in the state. 22 percent of all automobile crashes in Texas involve teenage drivers, as compared to 15 percent of all crashes nationwide. Overall, the total economic cost of automobile crashes with drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 approaches $3.5 billion in Texas alone.
And while factors such as alcohol and drug consumption play a role in some automobile crashes involving teen drivers, the number one factor is driver inexperience. Those without driving experience are ill equipped to react to the everyday hazards of our crowded streets and highways.
But why the focus on those in their late teens and early twenties? Texas already has a robust graduated license program for new drivers under the age of 18 that restricts the number of passengers a teen driver may have and the hours of the day he or she may drive. Statistics indicate, however, that an increasing number of people are waiting until their early twenties to receive their driver’s licenses. In 2008, Texas had nearly 800,000 licensed drivers who were age 19 and younger. In the same year, 1.37 million people waited until they were between the ages of 20 and 24 to become licensed. Thus Texas’ new coursework requirement fills a critical gap in the state’s driver education laws.
While these courses may provide the basic knowledge necessary to stay safe on the road, it remains to be seen whether they will be successful in reducing the number of accidents among young drivers in Texas. The fact is that teenagers and young adults tend to be more reckless when they get behind the wheel and infractions such as speeding, running red lights, weaving through traffic and tailgating other motorists can lead to serious accidents.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an automobile accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer experienced in handling claims related to motor vehicle accidents can help you protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.