Many severe and fatal accidents involving teens can be prevented.
In recent years, the safety of teenage drivers has become a growing concern across the United States - especially in Texas. Due to their inexperience and susceptibility to distractions, teenagers face a higher risk of being involved in fatal car accidents. Unfortunately, Texas has ranked 10th among states with the highest teen driver fatality rates.
According to data compiled by Bumper.com, Texas ranks among the states with the highest number of fatal crashes involving teenage drivers, with about 6.17 deaths per 10,000 licensed teen drivers. Over the past decade, Texas has averaged about 140 teen driver deaths per year.
Recent accidents involving young drivers in Dallas-Forth Worth
Recent fatal car accidents involving teens in the DFW include:
- In April, a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot in a road rage incident when a vehicle occupied by three teens bumped its side mirrors with an oncoming SUV on Santa Anna Avenue. The SUV allegedly turned around and shot at the vehicle full of children, killing a passenger.
- Also that month, a teen boy was killed in a fatal crash with another vehicle on South Garland Avenue in Garland. The 16-year-old victim had been in a vehicle with other teens. When a police officer attempted to pull the car over for a traffic violation, the teens allegedly sped away. The pursuit was stopped short at a busy train intersection, but police soon found the teens who had crashed at an intersection after apparently running a red light, local news says.
- In December, a 12-year-old was arrested in connection to a fatal hit-and-run that killed a woman on Rosser Road in Dallas. The suspected driver in the hit-and-run, who was described by police as a "teen," allegedly fled the scene of the accident.
Top 5 factors in teen driver fatalities
Car accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for teens, according to AAA. Many factors contribute to the troubling trend, but two of the most deadly are distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Each of the bad driving behaviors factors in 60% of fatal teen crashes. Here are the top factors in deadly youth-driver accidents:
- Inexperience. Teenagers lack the experience necessary to navigate challenging driving situations. They may not have encountered scenarios requiring quick decision-making skills and defensive driving techniques.
- Distracted driving. In the digital age, distractions from smartphones, social media, and other electronic devices pose significant risks to teenage drivers. Taking their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, can lead to catastrophic consequences.
- Speeding. Young drivers are more prone to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, which significantly increases the likelihood of accidents. Inadequate adherence to speed limits further exacerbates the risks associated with inexperience.
- Lack of seatbelts. Failure to wear seatbelts is a common problem among young drivers. In the event of a crash, seatbelts are crucial for minimizing injuries and preventing fatalities.
- Alcohol and drug use (DWI). Despite being underage, some teenagers may succumb to peer pressure and engage in substance abuse. About 1 in 10 teens report drinking and driving themselves, AAA says.
Addressing the issue
In Texas, the Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is implementing strategies to combat the crisis, including:
- Engineering roads to be more forgiving of driver behaviors.
- Adding roadside rumble strips: To prevent drivers from veering off the road.
- Using median barriers to help prevent head-on collisions.
- Implementing advanced technology like flashing LED signs and radar sensors in strategic locations to prevent wrong-way collisions.
- Launching public awareness campaigns - like End The Streak and Click It or Ticket - can educate both teenagers and their parents about the risks associated with irresponsible driving behavior.
You have rights. We can fight for them.
Texas's high teen driver fatality rate is a cause for concern and requires immediate attention. By addressing the factors contributing to these tragic incidents and implementing targeted solutions, Texas can strive to make our roads safer. However, accidents will still happen.
If you were injured or a loved one died in an accident involving a teen driver, you deserve justice and compensation. We can help. Contact Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. for a free case evaluation. A member of our team can answer your questions, explain your potential legal options, and help you decide what to do next.