New Haven Accident Lawyers Warn of Spike in Teen Driver Fatalities

Earlier this year in Avon, three teens were critically injured in a car accident when the 16-year-old driver with a learner’s permit slammed into a utility pole, splitting the vehicle in half.

Our  New Haven car accident lawyers understand this is sadly part of a growing national trend of young drivers increasingly involved in fatal accidents. It’s been well-established that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens, and recent weeks have seen a sharp spike in the number of young lives claimed on our roads.

In fact, in a single week, 20 teens died in five crashes in five states. That doesn’t even count the number of accidents involving teen drivers in which injuries were severe or life-threatening.

USA Today reports that while the circumstances surrounding each crash varied slightly, the one common denominator was this: Teen drivers with teen passengers.

This is not unsurprising, considering the study released last year by the American Automobile Association, which found that the risk of a 16- or 17-year-old driver being killed in a crash increased with each additional passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21.

The report, “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers,” found hat teen driver fatality rates:

  • Increase by nearly 45 percent when there is one passenger under 21 in the vehicle;
  • Increase by 100 percent when there are two passengers in the vehicle under age 21;
  • Increase by 400 percent when there are three or more passengers under the age of 21 in the car.

What’s more, having someone else in the vehicle who was at least 35-years-old reduced the risk of a fatality by more than 60 percent and the overall accident risk by nearly 50 percent.

This drives home the message that not only are graduated driver’s license laws restricting young drivers and teen passengers critical, so too is parental involvement.

Unfortunately, a recent survey by the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council revealed that many parents are lagging behind in this regard. The researchers discovered that more than 40 percent of parents of teenagers don’t realize that motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of teen deaths. Further, three-fourths erroneously believe that distractions and unnecessary risks are the main reason why teens have a higher accident rate. In fact, the main cause is driver inexperience.

This further underscores the role that parents need to take on while their teens are learning how to drive. It involves not only modeling good driving behavior – complete with limiting distractions – it’s also about putting in the time to ride with them and show them how to react to certain roadway hazards. Teaching them about assured clear distances and defensive driving tactics are also important.

It’s about ensuring that not only does your teen adhere to Connecticut’s graduated driver’s license laws, but that you set your own parameters. As it stands, for the first six months that one has a restricted license, the teen may have no passengers aside from a parent or driving instructor. In the six months after that, the same applies, except that the teen may drive younger individuals if they are members of his or her immediate family.

Contact the Law Offices of Salomone & Morelli by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visiting 100 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105.

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