While individuals under the age of 21 make up approximately 10 percent of all licensed drivers in Maryland and across the United States, they cause a disproportionate number of fatal crashes. These accidents, which often involve drunk driving and distracted driving, are due in large part to teen-specific behaviors. For example, experts believe many young drivers have an invincibility complex that leads them to engage in dangerous activities.
According to national statistics, drivers under the age of 21 are responsible for around 17 percent of all fatal alcohol-related crashes. Unfortunately, while many states have strict drunk driving laws for underage drivers, the laws have done little to curb the problem. Each year, approximately 2,000 underage drinkers are killed in car accidents. About one-third of teen auto accidents involve alcohol.
Meanwhile, texting and driving has surpassed drunk driving as the top cause of teen deaths nationwide. Studies show that texting while driving increases the chance of an accident by 23 times. This activity leads to the deaths of 3,000 teens every year. Like teen drunk driving legislation, laws designed to reduce texting and driving have done little to solve the problem.
According to experts, the best way to reduce risky teen driving behaviors is to educate them about the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving. Parents and others should emphasize that these behaviors are never acceptable and establish clear rules and consequences for engaging in those activities.
Car accidents cause thousands of injuries and permanent disabilities each year. Any Maryland resident who has been injured by a drunk or distracted driver may wish to speak with an attorney. One may file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and more.