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Know the risk factors associated with teenage drivers

A driver's license remains a right-of-passage that many parents approach with trepidation and teens approach with excitement. Once your teen gets behind the wheel of a car, you experience a completely new set of worries. Parents around the country, including most here in Virginia, realize that risks come with driving, but they might not understand just how risky it can be for a teenager.

What factors seem to increase a teenager's risks behind the wheel?

Teenagers lack the experience to know how to read the road and traffic, but they only gain that experience through driving. Therefore, they often receive driver's licenses that impose certain restrictions designed to increase their experience and keep them out of harm's way. In the meantime, they tend to make crucial mistakes that often lead to serious or deadly accidents. Some of the factors that seem to increase a teenager's risk of being involved in a crash, include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Male passengers
  • Drinking and driving

Teens also fail to wear their seatbelts regularly, which contributes to the severity of the injuries suffered in these crashes. Not surprisingly, half of the motor vehicle crashes involving teen fatalities in 2014 took place Friday through Sunday between 3:00 p.m. and midnight. Adding to these factors, teens still face the majority of the risks facing every driver, such as:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Night driving
  • Reckless driving

Even with the restrictions ordinarily placed on teenage drivers, they still manage to be on the roads under less than ideal circumstances. Where experience might have prevailed in avoiding a motor vehicle accident, a teenage driver's inexperience causes mistakes that end in crashes.

After an accident, officials attempt to determine which of these factors, if any, contributed to the accident. That information provides a starting point for an independent investigation conducted by your attorney to determine fault in the crash. Beyond the actual accident itself, an investigation reveals all of the parties who might bear liability. If a teenage driver made a serious mistake resulting in a car accident, you retain the right to seek compensation through either a personal injury or wrongful death claim depending on the circumstances.

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