Teenage drivers from the age of 16 - 19 account for the largest proportion of car crashes in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2333 teens were killed in auto crashes and 221,313 teens were treated for auto accident injuries in 2015.
Teen drivers are less likely to use a seatbelt than other age groups and more likely to engage in reckless behaviors that can result in death or injuries to the driver, passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists.
What are Common Causes of Teen Driver Crashes?
There are many different factors that contribute to the high rate of teen auto accidents, and many of them are related to inexperience and immaturity. They include:
· Risk-taking. Teenagers tend to be unjustifiably overconfident in their driving ability and tend to engage in more risk-taking behaviors than older drivers such as speeding, tailgating, making illegal turns, and passing other vehicles under unsafe conditions.
· Inexperience. Many teenagers have not yet acquired the basic driving skills and knowledge that is necessary to drive safely.
· Poor hazard detection. Because of inexperience, younger drivers are less able to identify hazards and threats that could lead to a potential auto accident.
· Passengers. Teenagers are more likely to be involved in an accident when they are carrying multiple passengers, and the risk of death increases with the number of passengers. Passengers in the vehicle can distract the driver and often encourage the driver to take unnecessary risks while driving.
· Alcohol and drugs. Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs is a common cause of teenage car crashes, especially when combined with night-time driving and teenage peers who are passengers in the car.
South Carolina Teen Driver Laws
In South Carolina, a teenager can get their driver's license when they are 15 years old. At 15, a teen driver can obtain a South Carolina Beginner Permit which allows them to drive during certain hours while an adult licensed driver is in the passenger seat. After holding a beginner permit for 180 days, the teen can then get a conditional license that allows them to drive during certain hours without supervision until they turn 16. Conditional license holders can then obtain a full driver's license at age 16 if they have held the conditional license for one year with no traffic violations and if they have not been at-fault in a motor vehicle accident.
Most teenage drivers will be covered by their parent or guardian's insurance policies and, regardless of age, they are responsible for damages that are a result of their negligence while driving. Your auto accident lawyer at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. understands the special considerations that may be present in an auto accident caused by a teen driver and will fight to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.