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Some risks that teenage drivers face

The Dangers Facing Teen Drivers

In Pennsylvania, the leading cause of death among 16-19-year-old people is vehicle crashes, and this is the case in most states throughout the U.S. There are a number of factors involved, including maturity, driver inexperience, and driving distractions. Allentown personal injury attorneys who handle cases involving teen drivers encourage parents to be aware of these dangers, educate their children, and take measures to ensure responsible driving.

Distracted Driving

While driving is something that many of us take for granted over time, it's a complex skill that requires experience that teenagers inherently lack. Teen drivers are immature, and they're more prone to distractions. Distracted driving exacerbates all other risks and is the leading cause of accidents among teens. There are three core types of distractions to be concerned with, and those are:
  • Taking your eyes off the road
  • Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Taking your mind off of driving

Female Teens More Distracted Than Males

A common perception is that female teens are safer drivers and, thus, less prone to risks. There is certainly some truth to this. Male teens are more likely to drive under the influence. They're also more likely to drive too fast and otherwise recklessly and therefore be involved in high-speed collisions. However, statistics reveal that female teens are more prone to distractions, including talking with their friends who are passengers or texting while driving. Experts also recommend that parents be cognizant of their teens as individuals. You may have a teenage daughter who is not averse to risk and likes to drive fast and is thus just as prone to those particular dangers as the males in her age group.

Texting While Driving

Texting is a top cause of distractions among most driver age groups, but particularly among teens. Pennsylvania does have a texting-while-driving ban in place. While that is a disincentive, it's important to tell your children that just reading texts, even from a dash-mounted device, is just as dangerous. In Pennsylvania, it is legal for you to talk on your phone while driving and even hold it in your hand. Nevertheless, most experts recommend against it, and you should talk with your teen about why it's dangerous to do this even though it's legal.

Passengers in the Vehicle

Another serious concern for teen drivers is passengers who are their peers. Pennsylvania has three license levels: learner's permit, junior license, and unrestricted license. When without a legal guardian, a young driver with a learner's permit is limited to one passenger. Those with a junior license are limited to three passengers. There are no limits for an unrestricted license, which is automatically issued at age 18 but is available earlier by completing an approved driver's education course and completing the special form DL-59. Parents should be aware that the likelihood of an accident goes up with the number of teens in the car and that rowdy passengers and loud music and talking more than double the risk of an accident.

Other Points to Consider

Summertime is by far the deadliest season for American teen drivers, and parents should take additional precautions on holidays such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Young drivers who get inadequate sleep are at much greater risk of an accident and a much less inclined to recognize their current limitations. One in four teens drives impaired. More than 30% of teens believe impairment improves their driving, and that number goes up significantly when surveyed specifically about marijuana use.

Local Representation for Vehicle Crashes

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, Metzger & Kleiner is here to help. To have your case reviewed by an Allentown personal injury attorney, fill out the form on our website, or call our Lehigh Valley office at 610-435-7400 or our Philadelphia office at 215-567-6616.

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