Teens ages 16 to 19 have a higher risk of traffic crashes than any other age group. Distracted driving is a major risk factor for accidents, as stated by the CDC. As found in a recent national survey among teen drivers in high school, 39% had texted or emailed while driving at least once during the previous 30 days. Crashes involving teen drivers killed 2,042 people in the most recent year for which statistics are available, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
What Are the Dangers of Teens Texting While Driving?
Texting is a particularly alarming form of driver distraction, as it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. It takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and attention off driving. Penalties for texting and driving in South Carolina include a fine of up to $25 for first offenders. Texting while driving can be even more dangerous when other factors are in play, such as inclement weather, road construction, or driving at night, when visibility is limited.
- Every hour in South Carolina, there are two crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SC DOI).
- Every 1.4 hours, a teen driver in South Carolina is in a wreck that kills or injures someone.
- Distracted driving contributed to 18,936 collisions statewide in a recent year.
- Texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving drunk.
- Distracted drivers are 90% more likely to be involved in a crash.
- Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident caused by distracted driving than any other age group.
What Are the Other Risk Factors for Teen Drivers?
Several factors in addition to distracted driving put teens at a higher risk than drivers in other age groups. These factors include:
- Driver inexperience: Most teens have not been driving long enough to gain adequate experience with recognizing dangerous situations and making critical driving decisions.
- Failure to use seat belts: Young adults have the lowest rates of seat belt use, as reported by CDC. Nearly half the drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 who died in car crashes in a recent year were not wearing seat belts.
- Speeding and tailgating: Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and follow too closely.
- Drug or alcohol impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases the risk of a crash in any age group, and even more so among teens.
- Nighttime and weekend driving: The risk of a crash increases at night for everyone, and particularly for teenagers. In a recent year, 40% of traffic fatalities among teens 13 to 19 years of age happened between 9 pm and 6 am, and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
What Can You Do to Prevent Your Teen From Texting and Driving?
Texting and driving can lead to serious accidents, including rear-end collisions, sideswipes, and deadly head-on crashes. It can result in severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage, organ damage, traumatic brain injury, amputation, and fractured bones. It is important to talk to your teens about distracted driving, show them the facts, talk about insurance rates, and set a good example.
If you or your child has been injured in a teen texting and driving accident that was someone else’s fault, call Allen Law at (843) 882-5005 to speak with an experienced Charleston personal injury lawyer. We can evaluate the accident to pursue all forms of compensation. Our firm offers a free consultation with no time limit, and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us no fees until we win a recovery for you.