Teenage drinking and fatal auto accidents
California parents of teenage children may be alarmed to learn that while drivers under age 21 account for roughly 10 percent of licensed drivers, they account for significantly more fatal alcohol-related accidents. Approximately 17 percent of alcohol-related accidents that result in a fatality are attributed to drivers in this age range. Teenage drivers are also disproportionately involved in accidents caused by texting while driving. These rates are partly due to the tendency of teenage drivers to believe that they are invulnerable to the consequences of dangerous driving behavior.
Despite strict blood alcohol concentration guidelines in most states, nearly 2,000 underage drinkers are killed each year while driving in the United States. Statistics estimate that alcohol is a factor in one-third of all vehicular accidents involving teenagers. Those who begin consuming alcohol at a younger age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related accident. Texting while driving results in more than 3,000 teenage deaths each year, and texting while driving alone makes an accident 23 times more likely.
Even teenagers who talk on a cellphone without texting experience slowed reaction times comparable to that of a 70-year-old driver. Simply dialing a number or reaching for a mobile device can significantly increase the risk of an accident. Education that aims to reduce the number of fatal teenage accidents focuses on emphasizing the dangers of distracted driving and teaching teenagers not to get in a car with anyone who has been drinking.
Whether as the result of driving under the influence or distracted driving due to the use of a mobile device, reckless teenage driving costs thousands of lives each year. Individuals who were injured in such an accident caused by such a negligent driver may be eligible for compensation that could cover medical expenses as well as lost wages. injured victims often can benefit from consulting with an attorney about the process of seeking such damages.