January is Teen Driver Awareness Month

January 10th, 2017 by Attorney Julie Butcher

January has been designated Teen Driver Awareness Month in the hopes of calling attention to the dangers that driving poses to their young lives. Simple driving mistakes can cause injuries and deaths, and without experience it’s easier to make those mistakes.

The Kentucky State Police provides these estimates for 2015:

  • 63 teenage drivers were killed.
  • They were involved in 15% of all vehicle collisions, 16% of accidents causing injuries and 9% of collisions causing fatalities.
  • Teens made up only 6% of the state’s licensed drivers.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • 2,163 teens ages 16-19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries due to motor vehicle crashes in 2013.
  • About six teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died every day that year as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

There are many factors that can lead to a teen driver’s being injured in a vehicle accident. Here are three of them:

1. Alcohol

Teens are more likely to be affected by alcohol than adults, and because of their age and inexperience they may not understand the effect of alcohol on their judgment and driving. Parents need to stress to their kids how important it is not to drink and drive, but the reality is that underage drinking occurs.

Teens need to know that if they put themselves in a situation where they have been drinking and may be driving or are in a car with a teen driver who has been drinking, the better option is to have someone else, someone sober, drive. They need to know it’s OK to call their parents or another trusted adult so they can get a safe ride home. As bad as it is to drink when you’re not legally old enough to do so, it’s much worse to risk getting into an accident.

As much as we may not want to, parents do set the example. If you’re a parent, don’t drink and drive. Your kids are much more likely to do what you do than to do what you say.

2. Seat Belts

Teens should make sure that they buckle up before they drive and that all their passengers do the same. Statistically it’s one of the best ways to prevent an injury or death in an accident. Kentucky law also mandates seatbelt use by all vehicle occupants.

3. Distractions

Distractions are a hazard for all drivers, but inexperienced teen drivers, especially those who may over-estimate their skills, are especially at risk if they’re not focusing on the road. Smartphone use has been justifiably publicized as a source of distraction for drivers, but it also could be caused by a number of other things: A driver unfamiliar with a vehicle may fumble for heating controls; radio stations may be changed; friends in the car may want the driver’s attention.

If you or a family member has been injured by a teenage driver in Kentucky, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain compensation for your injuries.