Teenagers Drive Cars Older and Less Safe
This blog post has been edited. It was originally posted on December 5, 2014. Facts of this case may have developed or changed since the original post date. Settlements/verdicts may have been reached or are in progress.
With the potential for lawsuit filings when a young person is killed in a car accident, research indicates that the type of car a teenager drives may have more to do with injuries and fatalities than anything else. A studies have found that most teenagers are driving cars that are older, smaller and offer fewer safety features. Insurance Industry Study A report released by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety said that teenagers killed while behind the wheel are often driving vehicles that are smaller and older. In addition, those cars provide fewer modern safety features such as electronic stability control or side air bags. The study, which was funded by the insurance industry, found that 29 percent of drivers aged 15 to 17 who died in crashes were driving small cars compared to 20 percent of drivers who were 35 to 50 year old. In addition, 82 percent were driving vehicles that were more than six years old (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/automobiles/teenagers-cars-are-older-smaller-and-less-safe-study-finds.html). Lack of safety features in some cases could lead to lawsuits filed after the death of a young person. Tips for Parents It is important for parents to remember when they are purchasing a vehicle for their teen that there may be other teenagers who will be riding in the vehicle with their child. Should a child be injured or killed in an accident due to lack of safety features or the age of the car, parents could face a lawsuit from the other family, even if the child is a member of the family. Therefore, parents should follow a few tips before purchasing a vehicle for a teen. Never choose a vehicle with a lot of horsepower as those types of cars encourage teens to driver faster than they should. Larger, heavier vehicles provide better protection should the teenager be involved in a crash. If possible, choose a vehicle with electronic stability control, as that feature will help young drivers traveling on slippery or curved roads. Choose vehicles with high safety ratings as well. Teen Driver Facts Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2010, almost 2,700 teenagers died in motor vehicle accidents and almost 282,000 were treated for injuries. Teens aged 15 to 24 account for only 14 percent of the population, but they account for 30 percent of the total cost of motor vehicle injuries in the country (http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html). When teen drivers ride with other passengers, the risk of being in a fatal accident increases. In a 2008 study, more than three-quarters of fatal crashes involving teenagers occurred on roads with speed limits higher than 45 and nearly two-thirds of those who died were not wearing seatbelts (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-04-teen-crashes_n.htm). Add consumption of alcohol, driving on weekends and other factors that can lead teen drivers to make errors in judgment, it is easy to see the potential for a lawsuit should a teen be involved in an accident in an unsafe vehicle. When an unsafe vehicle is suspected as the cause or contributing factor in a car accident that causes injury or death, a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an auto accident where injuries may have been caused or worsened by an unsafe vehicle.