South Carolina, like most states, has a graduated driving program, meaning teens who want a license must follow steps to build their driving skills before receiving the full privileges of being a licensed driver. As states began adopting these graduated programs, accidents involving teens dropped as much as 47 percent.
Nevertheless, over 4,000 teens are involved in fatal car accidents in an average year, and most of those accidents are the result of driver distraction. While parents may try to impress caution on their new drivers, you and your family may be the ones who pay the price for a teen's recklessness behind the wheel.
Inexperience and distraction
Speed is one factor that contributes to accidents involving teens. Parents may warn their children to drive within the limits, but without oversight, teens may have difficulty resisting the rush of driving at a high rate of speed, which is dangerous for themselves, you and others who happen to be on the road if the teen loses control of the vehicle. Some parents use apps to track their children's driving habits, but many new drivers persist in allowing distractions to take their attention from the road, including:
- Using their cell phones, music programs or other apps
- Having their friends in the vehicle
- Eating or drinking while driving
Of course, you may do these things and still manage to get home safely, but when a young driver's inexperience and feeling of invincibility combines with any of these distractions, it could lead to tragic consequences. Inexperience also plays a factor in a teen's use of alcohol. A young person testing the boundaries of newfound freedom may indulge in alcohol without knowing how it will affect him or her. It may take very little alcohol to impair an already unsteady teen driver.
When are you safe?
The chances of a new driver being in an accident are eight times higher within the three months after getting a first license because a licensed driver is no longer monitoring how safely the teen drives. Studies also show that over a third of fatal accidents involving teens happen after 9 p.m. and before 6 a.m. While graduated licensing prevents new drivers from being on the road at certain hours, you cannot guarantee that a reckless teen will not cross your path at those times.
If you are injured in an accident involving a speeding or distracted teen driver, you have rights. You may seek the advice of an attorney who can help you determine every party who may be responsible for your injuries and how to obtain the maximum compensation possible.