Teenagers have a reputation for being expensive. From cell phone bills to the cost of groceries for active young adults, adolescents are known for being a drain on their parent’s finances. When it comes to driving, teens may be an even bigger cost than we realize. Any parent who has added a teenager to their insurance can attest to the fact that premiums jump when a carrier discovers an inexperienced driver will be at the wheel. But what about the cost to society?
Its no secret that teenagers are a big risk on the road; the cause of many an accident can be traced back to a young drivers unsafe driving habits. A report from AAA reveals the total cost of all teen auto accidents in 2006 was over $34 billion. This number is massive, and it serves as an expensive reminder that measures need to be taken to reduce the frequency of crashes among teen motorists.
The AAA estimate includes the $9.8 billion spent on fatal car accidents, and $20.5 billion spent on non-fatal incidents. The remaining $4.1 billion was spent on losses due to property damage.
Upon further analysis, AAA discovered that drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 were involved in approximately 974,000 crashes that year, among which roughly half resulted in injuries, killing 2,541 people.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that auto accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, accounting for 36 percent of all the deaths within this age group.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers a thought-provoking statistic on how age impacts crash potential: teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are four-times more likely to crash than older drivers; similarly, the risk for 16 year olds is twice that of the crash risk for those ages 18 or 19.
Some feel that a graduated licensing program may help teens understand the responsibility of driving in a way an unrestricted license cannot. The issue is not always with the drivers attitude, however. Its impossible to be an excellent driver without experience, something new drivers have no way of obtaining without simply putting in time behind the wheel.
Society as a whole will benefit from reducing the number of auto accidents that teens are involved in. It may take small steps to see any change, but the economic and human cost of these collisions are too much for the nation to bear. Sadly, teenage drivers are often involved in crashes due to distractions, like texting and driving. Not every state has banned this dangerous behavior, though a texting and driving law might be another avenue toward reducing these accidents.
Have you been hit by a teenage driver? Was someone you love killed in an accident when a distracted adolescent was behind the wheel? Filing a claim against the party whose recklessness caused you pain is often the most direct step to take to get justice for your losses.
Goldberg Finnegan offers FREE case consultations to anyone who believes they have an auto accident claim. For free legal help today, contact a personal injury lawyer in Silver Spring at Goldberg Finnegan Law at (888) 213-8140 or fill out our case evaluation form.