We all remember that day when we first received our driver’s license. It was an exciting rite of passage that opened up a whole new world of possibilities. But some of us, when we look back, wonder whether we were really ready to be on the road at the age of 16. Many people do not develop a sense of their own mortality, or empathy for others, until well into their 20s. But those values would seem necessary for anyone who is given the responsibility of operating an automobile.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, then, will come as no surprise to many adults. According to the study, which was conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, younger, less experienced drivers may be particularly prone to distracted driving that leads to accidents. While drivers of all ages are succumbing more and more to the influence of cell phones and other devices, the problem appears to be most acute with teen drivers.
Study Finds Novice Drivers Take More Risks
When teenagers first begin driving, according to the study, they tend to be very careful and avoid risky behavior. However, within weeks and as they become more comfortable behind the wheel, these new drivers are more likely than older drivers to engage in high-risk secondary tasks such as talking on the phone, texting, checking email on smartphones, eating, and talking to passengers. This behavior significantly increases the risk of accidents, injuries, and death among teen drivers.
Other studies have found that, while drivers aged 15-20 comprise 6.4 percent of all drivers on the road, they account for 11.4 percent of fatalities and 14 percent of police-reported crashes resulting in injuries. Any activity that divides a driver’s attention has the potential to lead to an accident. It follows, if teens are more likely to engage in those activities, that they would also be involved in a higher rate of accidents. Of course, another likely factor is teens’ simple lack of experience with operating a motor vehicle.
Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do in our average day, made all the more dangerous by the presence of so many inexperienced, distracted drivers. It has always been the case that with age comes wisdom, or at least a certain kind of wisdom. As we get older, we become more conscious of our own mortality, and the mortality of those around us. We also come to understand the way our actions impact other people, and empathize with their plights. There is no way to give teenagers this sort of perspective, so other remedial measures will have to suffice.
What to do if you are injured in an Automobile Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident and feel that you deserve compensation, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case in a timely manner and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.