Statistics suggest that teen drivers are getting involved in more and more car accidents in Louisiana and across the U.S. Car accidents are, in fact, the leading cause of death among teens. The accident rate for teens is four times that for adults, and teens raise the risk even more when they have peers as passengers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has analyzed teen crashes that occurred between 2007 and 2010 as well as the miles driven by teens in 2008 and 2009 to calculate the crash risk. Compared to driving without passengers, 16- and 17-year-olds who allow one passenger under 21 in their vehicle are 44% more likely to crash. That risk doubles when there are two passengers under 21 and quadruples when there are three. On the other hand, the risk goes down 62% with the presence of a passenger 35 or older.
A total of 2,191 drivers aged 16 to 17 died in the study period. Nearly 40% had a passenger under 21, and no other passenger, in the vehicle. At the same time, it should be noted that the number of fatal teen crashes fell 53% between 2000 and 2010. Still, it’s clear that having young passengers in the car poses a significant threat to safety. Young drivers are, after all, more easily distracted due to their inexperience.
Whatever their age, drivers are supposed to stay safe on the road. If conversations with passengers are distracting, then negligent driving patterns could follow. Accidents caused by negligence can form the basis for a personal injury case. An injured victim may be able to pursue such a case with legal assistance. Most personal injury lawyers have a team of crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties who can help build up a case before negotiations begin.