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New stats: Car accidents leading cause of death for young America

Did you know that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults? New nationwide research shows that young people aged 16 to 20 are at a significantly elevated risk of death in car accidents. So, what are legislators in California and elsewhere doing to help combat this epidemic? One specific action item is high on the priority list: Lower the distracted driver rates.

Numbers show that about two-thirds of teens who are involved in fatal car crashes are distracted. Most often, we think about technology-related distractions, but that is just one way that young drivers' attention can be diverted from the road. For instance, teenagers may be focusing on their friends or a conversation in the vehicle, or they could be having a snack or applying makeup while driving. All of these activities can lead the vehicle operator to become a negligent driver and crash the car.

So, what is the answer to this issue? In many states, teens spend a probationary period without friends allowed in their vehicle. This is known as "graduated licensing," and it is taking root in jurisdictions throughout the nation. In fact, graduated licensing plans have proven to be successful in lowering fatality and injury rates among younger drivers.

The fact is that all drivers are at risk if young drivers are distracted and posing a threat to the public. Drivers who are injured in an auto accident with a distracted teenager may be entitled to financial compensation from the young vehicle operator. These victims deserve compensation for injuries and lost wages, along with pain and suffering, that may have resulted from the vehicle crash.

Source: WDTN, "Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens," Ethan Fitzgerald, March 09, 2017

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