Did you know that car accidents are now the number one killer of teenagers? It’s true–and unfortunately, it’s only getting worse. This week a couple reports emerged stating a number of sobering facts. One of them, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics, stated that motor vehicle crashes caused a full third of all teenage deaths from 1999 to 2006. Another report, released by the Teens in the Driver Seat Center of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), probes further into this disturbing trend. The study, which focused on night driving, found that traffic accident deaths involving alcohol actually decreased slightly for teens between 1999 and 2008.
What factor increased during this time? Cell phone use. Researchers believe that the use of mobile devices while driving is the main factor accounting for the increase in teenage deaths due to auto accidents. The proportion of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents actually had increased for all age groups, but teens most of all. Add that type of distraction, hands-free or not, to the decreased visibility of night driving and the relative inexperience of teenage drivers, and the risk of critical injury or death skyrockets.
Interestingly, TTI’s study notes that driving fatalities had decreased overall nationwide during the same time period. In other words, nighttime fatal crashes went up significantly, even as all other fatal crashes went down.
Followers of this blog know that our state of Georgia recently passed two laws: one, House Bill 23, which forbids drivers under the age of 18 from using cell phones while driving, and Senate Bill 360, also known as “Caleb’s Law.” The latter was named for Caleb Sorohan, a teenager from Morgan County who died last year in a car crash that occurred while he was texting. Unfortunately, instead of an unusual occurrence, Caleb’s death was a stark reminder that as the way we communicate rapidly changes, the law needs to catch up before death does.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of an inexperienced, intoxicated or distracted teenage driver, please contact the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, PC today for a free consultation. Our Gwinnett County distracted driving attorneys are ready to listen to your situation, inform you of your rights, and help you win the compensation you deserve.