This page includes information on many of the facts surrounding teen driving, getting a driver’s license, and also many of the common reasons for these accidents as teenagers have a higher propensity to be involved in a collision.
If you have been involved in an accident with a teen, or your teen has been the victim of another’s negligence, we encourage you to contact our lawyers for a confidential consultation about your rights and the issues that may be involved in your case. Don’t delay contacting an attorney because this can be a difficult process to navigate alone. There are time limits on how long you have to bring a claim or lawsuit.
Our lawyers are some of the most experienced in the practice of auto accident representation and can be reached at 860-346-2695.
More on Teenage Driving
Perhaps nothing is more exciting to a teen than earning their driver’s license. Finally, a chance to cruise around town, or drive themselves to school or work. For new drivers, getting your license is proof that you’ve grown up. But for parents, it can be a nail-biting, anxiety riddled experience, and with good reason.
Consider these facts about teenage drivers:
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 1,678 drivers ages 16-20 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
• Teen drivers ages 16-19 are 3 times more likely to be in an accident than 20 year olds.
• Teenage boys are 38% more likely to be involved in a crash than girls. This is because boys tend to speed and tailgate other cars.
• A study conducted by AAA found distracted driving to be a factor in 6 out of 10 moderate to severe teen crashes. Distraction caused 58% of all crashes studied, 89% of road departures and 76% of rear-end collisions caused by teens.
• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found teen drivers have 3 times as many car accidents per mile as drivers over the age of 20.
If your teen has been in an accident, the consequences can be severe for all involved. Your child could be critically injured, or held legally responsible for the injuries of any passengers. This means that ultimately, you the parent are responsible too.
Even though adults are considered less risky drivers, they are still capable of negligent behaviors that may harm others. If your teen has been harmed in an accident, The Flood Law Firm can help relieve the burden of legal troubles.
Getting Your License in Connecticut
At 16, teens are eligible to get a learner’s permit at their local DMV office. Teens must have their learner’s permit and at least 40 hours of practice before they can take the on-the-road test. Since 2008, Connecticut law requires parents and teens to attend a joint 2-hour driver’s training course.
Teens with learner’s permits may not have any passengers except for either a licensed driving instructor or a person who is at least 20 years old, has held a driver’s license for four or more consecutive years and whose license has not been suspended during the four years prior to training.
Passenger restrictions also apply to newly licensed teens, who may not carry passengers for the first 6 months after earning their license. After this period, they may only carry immediate family members as passengers. A teen who violates this law could have their license revoked by the investigating officer at the scene and held for 48 hours. They may even face fines.
Teen drivers also have an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew unless the teen is traveling for employment, school, religious activities, medical necessity, or if the individual is an assigned driver in the Safe Ride Program.
Moving violations, such as speeding, texting while driving and driving under the influence carry serious penalties that can include license suspension, court fines and jail time.
Which Insurance Policy is Right for Your Teen?
Depending on your own driving record, adding a teen driver to your policy may qualify you for additional perks, such as multi-car and good student discounts. If your teen’s already in college, you should keep them under your policy so you don’t lose these benefits.
If you have a luxury car or the misfortune of past DUI convictions or violations, it may be better for your teen to have their own policy. In these instances, having two separate policies may be more cost effective.
Consider upgrading to comprehensive or collision coverage if you currently have only a minimum liability policy. Remember to do your homework: comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies will help you discover the best option for your family’s needs.
3 Common Teen Accidents
The underlying cause in all teen crashes lies in their inexperience behind the wheel. Teens lack the skills to effectively control the car, recognize when an emergency is happening or the proper responses to avoid collisions.
Teens are susceptible to 3 particular types of crashes:
1. Rear-end collisions – due to their tendency to speed and tailgate, crashing into the back of another vehicle is common for teen drivers.
2. Road departures – Front-end collisions with trees or lamp posts may be the frightening end result of a teen driver who accidently drifted off the pavement.
3. Left-turn collisions – teens often forget to scan the road ahead, or look to both sides of the road at a stop sign before turning.
Causes of Teen Accidents
Common causes of new driver accidents include:
• New drivers are more likely to speed and leave shorter stopping distance between cars than experienced drivers.
• Distracted driving accounts for more than 58% of all teen crashes. It’s against the law for Connecticut teen drivers to use any electronic device while driving, and getting caught by a police officer could result in a 30-day license suspension and a $175 fine.
• Low visibility, fatigue and little experience driving at night is the perfect combination for a teen to crash. The chance of a teen being in an accident are 400% higher at night than during the day.
• It’s distressing how often teens forget to buckle up. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the chances of being injured in a crash by 50%.
• Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol often has deadly consequences for teen drivers and their passengers.
Underage Drinking and Driving
Underage drinking causes approximately 2,000 car accident fatalities per year. Teens are less capable of knowing when they’ve had too much to drink and often binge drink. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 1 in 7 teens binge drink, while only 1 in 100 parents believe their teen binge drinks.
In most states, it is a crime for anyone under the age of 21 to have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .02% and many states have severe zero-tolerance laws for underage drinkers. A teen with a DUI conviction leads to a suspended license, and mandatory enrollment in a rehabilitation program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. They could possibly face jail time and community service.
Underage DUI convictions don’t simply evaporate at the age of 18; they must be disclosed on college applications, financial aid and scholarship entries, as well as job applications.
Honest and open communication with your teen about the risks and consequences of alcohol and drug abuse is one way to reduce their likelihood of being involved in a DUI offense.
What to Do When Your Teen is in an Accident
Before they get behind the wheel, be sure to teach your teen the proper steps to take in any auto accident:
• pull over to the side of the road (when possible)
• call for medical assistance immediately if someone is injured
• do not admit to fault at the scene of the accident
• cooperate with police when they arrive on the scene
• take photos of property damage and injuries
A barrage of emotions may ensue when you hear your teen has been in a crash – fear, anxiety, maybe even anger- but it’s important to stay calm. A parent who loses their cool is not likely to get far with anyone involved in the incident, including police officers. If your teen is able to call you, find out where they are and meet them there as soon as possible.
The Flood Law Firm can guide both you and your frightened teen through the ordeal, from getting to the doctor, to investigating the accident scene, to handling issues with insurance adjusters. We’ve helped thousands of Connecticut families successfully overcome the legal woes that result from auto accidents.
If your teen has been injured in an auto accident, you can contact us at (860) 346-2695 seven days a week for a free case evaluation at no obligation to you.