Preventing teen driving deaths and injuries

Driving can be dangerous for young people, as the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. is motor vehicle accidents. These crashes are preventable in many cases, and Louisiana parents as well as their children can take steps to reduce the number of injuries and deaths resulting from accidents involving teen drivers.

There are several "danger zones" that can lead to car collisions involving teenage drivers, and people can educate themselves about these risks and how to avoid them. They include nighttime driving, impaired driving, not using seat belts, distracted driving and driving with teen passengers. Data from 2011 shows that about 292,000 people between the ages of 16 and 19 were injured and 2,650 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. In some cases, simple things like buckling up, not being distracted by texting or talking on the phone and driving only while sober could prevent injuries and save lives.

Becoming an experienced driver takes practice as driving skills develop with time. Teens who engage in risky behaviors are sometimes especially susceptible to crashes because they have less driving experience than others on the road. Graduated licensing is premised on the basis that supervision and skill-building is needed when learning to drive, and GDL programs put restrictions on new drivers that are lifted with experience. Following a state's GDL laws can help keep a teen driver safe.

If a driver's reckless or negligent actions injure someone else, the victim can seek compensation for expenses related to an accident. A personal injury attorney may be of assistance in the preparation and filing of a lawsuit that seeks damages from the appropriate parties.

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