Despite a great deal of nervousness about the rise of texting-and-driving and other distractions while on the road, one age group has been surprisingly better off: in the last twenty years, deaths and injuries among teenagers in car accidents have actually dropped significantly, and even experts are baffled. Some have praised the increasingly-tight restrictions for new and inexperienced drivers, while others point to added safety features, such as additional airbags, in newer car models.
Federal statistics show that, from 1994 to 2013, deaths in accidents involving teen drivers have decreased by 56% and injuries by 51%. This seems rather surprising, as teenagers overall have the highest accident-rate of any age group; it’s also worth noting that about 40% of all deaths and injuries in these accidents are not in the teen driver’s vehicle, but in the other vehicle in the crash.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2013 saw more than 891,000 teen drivers involved in traffic accidents; 236,000 of those accidents resulted in injuries and over 2,600 resulted in one or more lives lost. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs first began in the 1990s and are in full force today. These often require periods of supervised driving before obtaining a permit, as well as intermediate phases in which teens’ driving privileges are limited and may include curfews or limits on passengers in the car.
“Teen-crash rates have declined substantially,” said Anne McCartt, Senior Research VP of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “and a significant part of that is due to graduated driver licensing laws now in place in every state.” She even claims that particular states could reduce teen-crash fatalities by as much as 50% by enacting stricter driver licensing laws, including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, and North and South Dakota.
By enacting the strongest-possible GDL standards, an IIHS calculator estimates that Virginia could reduce-teen crash deaths by 37% and teen accidents by 15%; in Maryland, deaths by 19% and accidents by 10%; and in Washington, D.C., deaths by 17% and accidents by 14%.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Mike Agruss Law, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.