Louisiana ranks in the middle of the pack on teen driving safety

The personal finance web site WalletHub recently ranked Louisiana 25th in the nation on teen driving safety. The ranking system was based upon a number of safety-related criteria. For example, WalletHub considered the number of teen fatalities in each state and the rate of teenage violations for driving under the influence. Also taken into account were each state's safety laws such as those prohibiting texting and driving. One person interviewed in conjunction with the WalletHub report said that young drivers overestimate their driving abilities while vastly underestimating potential road hazards.

As a group, teenage drivers pose a distinct risk of injury or death to other motorists. According to the National Conference of States Legislatures, teens are frequently involved in

motor vehicle accidents since they are more likely than mature drivers to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding, running red lights and driving under the influence. Significantly, over one-quarter of teens killed in highway crashes had a blood alcohol content of 0.8 or higher. It also appears that a significant number of young drivers involved in crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. The leading cause of distraction for teens is cell phone use. Studies show that young drivers are two to three times more likely than older drivers to text or e-mail while trying to drive at the same time.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development concludes that teens who drive in a risky manner often are mimicking the driving behavior of friends their own age. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration says that when children become old enough to drive on their own, their parents need to sit down and explain that the teenager's right to drive is conditioned upon complying with certain driving behavior rules. For example, it is suggested that parents set rules similar to the following:

  • Prohibit teens from drinking and driving.
  • Mandate the wearing of seat belts.
  • Ban all cell phone use and texting while driving.
  • Set a curfew by mandating that the teen's car will be in the family driveway by no later than 10:00 p.m.
  • Ban or restrict the number of passengers being chauffeured by the teen driver.
  • Set consequences for the violation of driving rules and be prepared to enforce them.

Direct adult supervision of teenage drivers is, by far, the best way to keep teen drivers safe. The American Automobile Association says that if the teen driver has one passenger aged 34 or older onboard, this dramatically reduces the risk of a motor vehicle crash.

Louisiana's response

The authors of Louisiana's Strategic Highway Safety Plan observe that-like most states--Louisiana's young drivers are overrepresented in automobile crashes. In an effort to reduce teenage automobile accidents, Louisiana intends to identify and expand effective educational programs aimed at educating teenage drivers on good driving skills. At the same time, Louisiana will address risky driving behaviors by expanding law enforcement programs that target underage drinking and driving activities. Additionally, Louisiana law enforcement organizations will fully support any legislative initiative to strengthen Louisiana's graduated driver's licensing requirements.

Suing for injuries

A teen's lack of driving maturity is no excuse for reckless driving errors which cause injury to other motorists. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a teenage driver, you need to contact an attorney experienced at handling automobile accident cases. The attorney will do everything possible to assist you in seeking monetary compensation for your injuries.