Innocent often victimized in Chicago car accidents caused by teens

A national report is highlighting a point often lost when it comes to talking about teen driving safety: many of the victims of Chicago car accidents involving teenagers are not teens and are not passengers in a teen’s vehicle.

They are victims of all sorts of poor driving decisions made by teenagers, including drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving and distracted driving. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers frequently report, both here and on our sister site, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, regarding the dangers teens face behind the wheel.Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. And when it comes to being involved in a serious or fatal accident, teens are at the highest risk of all motorists except those over the age of 75.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 164 motorists were killed in Illinois car accidents involving teenagers in 2008. Of those, 80 were teen drivers and 39 were passengers in a teen’s vehicle. But 37 other motorists were killed, as were eight non-occupants, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

Those statistics agree with the results of the study published in Health News Digest. According to research by State Farm Insurance and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about 30 percent of those killed in accidents involving teenagers were not in the teen’s vehicle.

Nationwide, nearly 700,000 people are involved in a crash with a teenager each year and more than 40,000 are injured.

“When most people think about those affected by teen driver crashes, they think of the teens behind the wheel. We must also consider the significant impact of these crashes on other members of our communities: occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road-users,” said Dennis Durbin, a co-author of the report. “Whether or not we have a teen driver in our family, we should all care about this issue. This report provides a concrete way to measure the effectiveness of laws, education, and other programs in reducing teen crashes and their impact on communities.”

The report cites reducing speeding and alcohol use as critical to stemming the tide of teen car accidents. Eliminating distracted driving and increasing seat-belt use were also cited.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Illinois personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free case evaluations to discuss your rights. Call (312) 924-7575. There is no fee unless you win.

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