Teenagers should be enjoying their lives to the fullest with the anticipation of everything that awaits them in their adulthood. They should be focused on their educations, their jobs, their families, and their friends. But for some teens, this joyful and mostly carefree approach to life is not possible because their lives have been forever affected by a car accident in or around the Chicago area. For others, their lives ended due to a car crash.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers in the nation, a troubling statistic made all the more distressing when you realize that the vast majority of collisions can be prevented if drivers act reasonably. This means that the youth of Illinois are facing serious risks to their lives every time they drive or simply ride in a vehicle as a passenger, and with each tragedy that strikes, the lives of that teen, the teen’s family, and the entire community will be altered forever.
Teens can be either innocent victims of collisions or the ones responsible for a mistake that causes a crash so that no teen is guaranteed safety from an accident. Based on data from 2013, the CDC determined that teens ages 16 to 19 were more likely to be involved in accidents than drivers in any other age group and per mile driven, these teens are more than three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than 20-year-old motorists. The CDC also determined that the risk of collision was particularly high within the first month that a new teen received her license and that the risk of a crash increases with the number of teen passengers inside a car. Further, males aged 16 to 19 are approximately twice as likely to die in a collision than females, regardless of whether those males were driving or were passengers.
All of these statistics should be troubling for parents and for anyone who cares about teenagers in the state. If you are worried about the safety of teens, make sure you understand the reasons that these drivers and passengers are at such a high risk for death and do your part to eliminate those factors.
First, teens have less experience behind the wheel than older motorists which means they are less likely to make proper decisions. If you have a teenager in your house, the best thing you can do is to have your teen practice driving as much as possible and in all types of situations. By experiencing different factors like darkness, rain, congestion, and back roads with an experienced driver in the vehicle to provide advice, your teen is more likely to make wise decisions when you are not in the car.
Further, stress the importance to your teens of avoiding any amount of alcohol if they will be driving. In Illinois, teens are not allowed to have any alcohol in their systems if they are operating a vehicle, and if they do, they may face criminal charges including the possession of alcohol by a minor and/or driving under the influence. These laws exist for good reason as alcohol serves to depress a teen’s decision making skills and will significantly increase the odds of a fatal accident taking place.
Finally, make sure your teen understands that driving is a dangerous activity that should be treated with respect. This means obeying all traffic rules, following the speed limit, and always wearing your seat belt. Teach your teen that the safety of everyone on the roadway is impacted by her decisions and that if she acts inappropriately, she could be responsible for her own death or the deaths of others.
If a teenage car accident harmed you, your child, or someone you love, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have helped countless collisions victims over the years and we are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to help you. You can reach us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and when you call us, everything discussed will be confidential. Further, if we represent you, we will advance all case-related expenses and we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Prior Blog Entry:
Trains Set to Miss Important Safety Deadline, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 3, 2016.
Teen Drivers: Get The Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published October 14, 2015.