It is something that makes many parents of teens and preteens anxious these days: the prospect of their children getting their driver’s licenses and operating a vehicle on their own. But in practice, it is not only parents who have begun to show apprehension at this issue but also the typical motorists who travels the streets and expressways of Chicago. Many people believe that teens are dangerous to themselves and to others when they drive but they often cannot express why they possess that belief.
Data from numerous national studies continue to hold true the belief that teens present a high risk for being involved in a car accident, whether that crash involves a single vehicle or multiple cars. And when a crash happens, it is possible that the teenager driver, a passenger in that vehicle, or others in another car may suffer from injuries or even be killed as a result.
The biggest issue facing teenage drivers continues to be their lack of experience behind the wheel. Illinois employs a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program in an effort to increase the experience of teenage motorists before they operate on their own, but compared to older drivers, teens still have a mere fraction of the real-world driving time that others possess.
In Illinois, teens can begin driving on a permit when they are 15 years old and with a guardian in the car. There are restrictions placed on teens that are not placed on others including prohibitions on nighttime driving and prohibitions on the use a cell phone – even with a hands-free device – expect in the case of an emergency. Further, teens must log at least 50 driving hours while they possess their permit before they can move to the next step in the GDL process and before they can begin to drive on their own.
Though teen driving is restricted in Chicago for the sake of safety, it is not risk-free. Studies continue to show that when a teen becomes licensed, whether at age 16 or later, that teen is at an incredibly high risk for car accidents, injuries, and even death. The Illinois Secretary of State reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death among those ages 16-20 and that 16-year-old drivers have a fatality rate three to five times higher than motorists in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
In addition to their lack of experience driving, teens also have a lack of the real-world skills needed to make split second decisions. An older American has lived more and experienced more in their lives, equipping them with the ability to understand things like actions and consequences. Teens are still sorting through these causal connections and are less familiar with the results. This can translate to a teen’s inability to perceive the long-term consequences of her actions if she acts negligently by speeding, running a red light, or simply operating in an unsafe manner. An older adult may be more likely to understand the potential fallout caused by each of those actions and therefore may avoid them.
Every year, people in Chicago are injured in car accidents with teenage drivers and some of those who are hurt may lose their lives. If a collision has affected you or someone you love, make sure you understand your legal options and whether you have a valid claim for relief by calling the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today.
We can be reached toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and rest assured that whatever time you choose to call us, we will have a licensed lawyer standing by for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We offer all those who contact us a free case consultation without obligation and everything discussed will be kept confidential.
If you have questions, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us get to work for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
How Much is My Case Worth?, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 10, 2015.