Teen Car Accidents
Nothing strikes fear in parents’ hearts like their teenager learning to drive -- and for good reason. Teenage driving is a volatile mix of inexperience combined with the distractions of cellphones and navigation systems, distractions from friends as passengers, poor decision-making etc. The statistics on teenage accidents are staggering. Sixteen year-old drivers have the highest accident rate, and all too often their accidents are serious. Six teenage drivers die every day and nearly a quarter of a million teen drivers are sent to the hospital each year for injuries sustained in car wrecks. Male teenager drivers are twice as likely to die in a car accident than female teen drivers.Risky Driving Behaviors by Teenage Drivers
Most teenagers define speeding as exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. However, teenagers fail to understand that an additional 10 mph in speed not only reduces their reaction time, especially when they fail to leave enough room between them and the car in front of them, but it also creates increased collision energy – meaning the accident will be more severe. The Tennessee Highway Patrol data from 2007 to 2017 reveals that following too closely, operator inexperience and speed accounted for over 483,000 accidents in the State of Tennessee.
Of course, teens must also resist a multitude of distractions while driving. Distractions from cellphones, navigation systems or friends in the car cause a lot of accidents involving teenage drivers. The Tennessee Highway Patrol data from 2007-2017 shows over 16,000 accidents were caused by distracted driving. This statistic is likely a lot higher because officers have some discretion in how to code the cause of the accident and distracted driving can also get coded as careless/reckless driving, failure to yield right of way, signal or obey traffic signals, etc. And we know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers under the age of 20 have highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.In Tennessee, Are the Parents Responsible for An Accident Caused by a Teenage Driver?
In Tennessee, the law imposes liability on the parent or guardian who signs the form permitting a teenage driver to get a license. In addition, there is a separate law that allows an injury victim to seek compensation from the parents of a teenage driver if the teenager was operating the vehicle for a family purpose, which is a legal doctrine that requires certain conditions be met before it applies. Because of the potential liability, a responsible parent or guardian will purchase adequate insurance to both protect themselves and anyone their teenager injures in an accident. Of course, some parents and guardians will not do this so their assets, to the extent they have any, can be used to help compensate an injury victim. To protect you and your family from a driver without sufficient insurance coverage and/or sufficient assets, you can purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. For more information on how uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage works, click here.What Should I Do If I Have Been Hit by Teenage Driver?
We have prepared a checklist of things you should do after being involved in an accident. Then, if you would like a free, no-obligation consultation about your accident, give us a call at one of our three convenient Middle Tennessee locations. And, as always, we will gladly come to you if you are unable to come to us for any reason. Our award-winning lawyers handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we win.
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