Teenagers and Distracted Driving: A Major Problem in South Carolina

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Teenage car accidents are overwhelmingly caused by distracted driving.  In 2013, almost one million teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were involved in motor vehicle crashes.  Those accidents resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.  Many of these accidents are preventable, as the American Automobile Association found that 58% of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving.   

Cell phone use was implicated as a cause for 12% of the accidents studied by AAA. In more than half of the rear-end crashes involving cell phone use, the distracted driver exhibited no reaction in the moments preceding the crash. In other words, they never saw it coming. On average, the cell phone using driver spent an average of 4.1 seconds looking away from the road. That’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field completely blind.

What are the Risks with Teen Drivers?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that drivers under the age of 20, with less driving experience, are at the highest risk of distracted driving-related crashes.  There is also thought to be a link between texting while driving and drinking and driving, or getting in a car with someone else who has been drinking.  According to a 2011 CDC study, nearly half of all American high school students age 16 and over reported texting or emailing while driving.  The study also reported that teenagers who text while driving were almost two times as likely to get in a car with a driver who has been drinking, and five times as likely to drink and drive under the influence.

While texting and cell phone use are the two leading causes of distracted driving accidents, it is possible that for teenagers, an even worse distraction than cell phones is having other passengers in the car.  Other teenagers as passengers were a contributing factor in more than 35% of the teen car accidents studied by the CDC.  

South Carolina Teen Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorneys

South Carolina still does not ban teenagers from talking on cell phones while driving, although there is a statewide ban on texting while driving.  It could be years before the impact of emerging technology, which might prevent teenagers in the future from using their cell phones for talking and texting, will be ready for market and adopted in South Carolina. In the interim, if you have been in an accident due to distracted driving, we invite you to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney at David Aylor Law Offices.  Call or email now for a complimentary consultation, and to find out how we can protect your legal rights if you have been involved in an accident in the Charleston, North Charleston, or Walterboro area with a teenager who was driving while distracted.  

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