Getting a driver’s license can often feeling like the first step towards freedom and adulthood for any teenager. In their haste to pick up their friends and go for a ride, inexperience can make them forget what they’re doing has the potential to be deadly if not done responsibly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,333 teens, ages 16-19, in 2015 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. That means six teens die every day from auto accidents. So while the 15-19 age group only accounts for 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 11 percent of all motor vehicle injuries.
In order to prevent these unnecessary injuries and deaths, it’s important to understand why inexperienced drivers cause accidents. With that understanding, we can implement initiatives and laws to save lives.
Inexperience Risk Factors
According to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book from 2013, a teen driver is involved in car collision every 1.6 hours. The crash risk is particularly high during the first month of driving, and males are two times more likely to get into a crash than females.
Because of where they are in their brain development, teenagers are less likely to recognize a hazardous situation. This also means they are more likely to make dangerous decisions that could lead to a potential crash. They are more likely to speed when compared to older drivers, and they tend to leave less space between vehicles.
Other risk factors include the lack of seatbelt use and driving under the influence. Of all age groups, teens have the lowest reported seatbelt use, at only 61 percent. Of the crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 in 2016, 15 percent of them has blood alcohol content levels above the legal limits.
Preventing Accidents by Inexperienced Drivers in South Carolina
In an attempt to prevent inexperienced drivers from encountering auto accidents, South Carolina has a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. This program requires new drivers go through specific milestones before they can obtain their regular license.
At 15, a person is eligible for their learner’s permit. After 180 days, they are eligible for their provisional license. At 16, they can get a conditional license with restrictions on things like driving times; and at 17 a person is eligible for their regular license.
Teenagers and their parents shouldn’t have to worry about car wrecks and the possible consequences; however, accidents happen. If you or a loved have been the victim of a car accident in South Carolina, our Columbia car accident lawyers are prepared to represent you so the negligent party is held responsible for their actions.