Experienced Pittsburgh car accident lawyers explain what you need to know
Speeding drivers wreak havoc on our roads, causing numerous car accidents every single day. While drivers of all ages often cause accidents due to driving too fast, teenage drivers cause more speeding accidents than any age group behind the wheel.
So how bad is the problem? Why are teen drivers so dangerous at high speeds? What type of accidents do they cause? And what should you do if a teenager causes your accident due to speeding? Below, you can learn more about this crisis on the road. Learn what you can do to protect your health and your rights.
How bad are speeding accidents caused by teenagers?
The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) compiled a report about the dangers of teen driving and speeding. The report is titled “Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle.” The 27-page-long report documents the seriousness of the problem and why teens often cause so many speeding car accidents.
When it comes to drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old, speeding is a factor in fatal accidents significantly more than for any other age group. Specifically, 43% of traffic fatalities caused by teen drivers involved speeding. In contrast, speed was a factor in 30% of fatal accidents caused by drivers in all other age groups.
Here are some other startling statistics from the same GHSA study:
- 15,510 teen drivers were involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident during the most recent 5-year period examined in the study.
- Male teen drivers were more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident than female teen drivers. Specifically, 37% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents caused by male teenage drivers involved speeding. In contrast, 28% of all fatal car accidents caused by female teen drivers involved speeding.
- Teen drivers “pose the highest risk of death to their passengers, occupants of other passenger vehicles and non-vehicle occupants such as pedestrians and cyclists,” according to the study.
- Among all ages, speeding continues to be a leading cause of fatal car accidents nationwide, especially in certain states. In Pennsylvania, for example, 41.6% of all traffic fatalities are due to speeding each year on average, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s 481 fatalities out of 1,154 on average each year.
The financial toll of speeding accidents can be staggering as well. The economic impact of speeding accidents (medical care, replacement income, vehicle repair or replacement costs, etc.) adds up to an estimated $52 billion each year nationwide, according to the NHTSA.
Why are teens so dangerous behind the wheel?
The GHSA study of speeding accidents caused by teen drivers identified several possible reasons why drivers in this age group often cause significantly more accidents, including
- Inexperience. Teen drivers do not have the experience necessary to recognize and quickly react appropriately to dangerous situations. This makes speeding even riskier for them.
- Widespread speeding. Because many other drivers often exceed the speed limit, teen drivers start to believe that speeding is normal and not that dangerous. The result? Many teens drive faster because other drivers on the road are driving fast as well.
- Peer pressure. The GHSA study found that if there are more teenagers in a vehicle, a teen driver is more likely to be involved in a speeding-related accident. For example, when teenagers drive alone, 20% of accidents caused by a single teen driver involved speeding. Add one teen passenger and 22% of accidents caused by a teen driver involve speeding. Add two teen passengers and that figure rises to 24%. With three teen passengers, 26% of accidents caused by teen drivers involve speeding.
What types of car accidents are teens causing due to speeding?
When speeding plays a role in accidents caused by teen drivers, these drivers often cause certain types of accidents, according to the GHSA study. In particular, speeding teen drivers often cause the following types of car accidents:
- Roadway departure accidents. Drivers between 16-19 years old are much more likely to veer off the road in an accident than drivers of all other ages. For example, 71% of accidents involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers in which speed was a factor resulted in the car driving off the road. In contrast, drivers over 50 years old veered off the road in speed-related accidents only 52% of the time.
- Rollover accidents. Teen drivers who exceed the speed limit are much more likely to be involved in a rollover accident than any other age group. For example, 41% of accidents caused by speeding drivers who are 16 years old are rollover accidents. In contrast, only 26% of speed-related accidents caused by drivers over 50 years old result in a rollover accident.
- Nighttime accidents. Many speeding accidents caused by teen drivers occur at night. Specifically, 44% (16-year-old drivers) to 54% (19-year-old drivers) of speeding accidents caused by teenage drivers took place at night.
What should I do if a teenager caused my accident?
When teen drivers cause accidents due to speeding, it’s important for anyone who is injured in the accident to take certain steps as soon as possible:
- Call the police and ask them to respond to your accident.
- Check for potential injuries and seek immediate medical attention.
- Get the teen driver’s full name, address, and insurance information.
- Talk to any witnesses who saw your accident and get their names and phone numbers.
- Take pictures of your accident from all angles and be sure to include all the damage and any tire marks.
- Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and go over your legal options.
Have you been injured in a bad car accident caused by a speeding teen driver? If so, make sure you fully understand your rights and the legal options available to you. Talk to a lawyer at Romanow Law Offices in Pittsburgh. We can answer any questions you might have about your accident and explain your options. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.