Nighttime Driving & Teens

The late teen years can be exciting for teens and terrifying for their parents.  Parents worry that their children will be distracted while they are driving and that they will hurt or kill themselves or others.  According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, drivers under the age of 20 are the group with the most distracted driving fatalities and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the crash rate per mile driven is about 10 times higher for 16 year olds than for drivers between the ages of 30 - 59.   As parents of teenage drivers, it is important to understand how most teen accidents happen and what to do if you, or your child, are involved in an accident with a teenage driver.

Nighttime Driving Leads to Teenage Car Accident Fatalities

Earlier this month the Texas Transportation Institute released the results of a 10 year national study.  The study found one factor that resulted in more fatal car accidents for teenagers than any other factor.  According to the study, the most dangerous thing that a teenage driver can do is to drive at night.

Driving at night is more dangerous for teens than drinking and driving, speeding, or refusing to wear a seat belt.  According to the study’s authors the reasons that driving at night is so dangerous for teens is that it is dark, they are tired, and they often drive while using their cell phones which creates a “perfect storm.”* 

Teenagers do not recognize that using a cell phone while driving can be dangerous and they do not understand that the darkness of night and the fatigue that often accompanies nightfall can increase the dangers.  According to the study, 80% of teenagers knew that drinking and driving was dangerous but only 3% identified nighttime driving as dangerous.

Protecting Your Teenage Driver

In order to prevent nighttime accidents, parents should require their children to comply with the driving laws in Virginia and Washington D.C. that limit nighttime driving until the driver gains experience.

Many teenage car accidents could have been avoided.  If you, or your child, have been hurt in an accident with a teenage driver in Washington D.C. or in North Virginia then please call the Virginia car accident lawyers of Shevlin Smith at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation.

*Source: Washington Post, “Nighttime driving is biggest danger for teen drivers, study says” by Ashley Halsey III, May 6, 2010

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