Researchers from State Farm and Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia studied injury data from over 50,000 teenage drivers and their passengers who had been in car accidents and discovered that almost 30% of them had received some sort of head injury as a result of the accident. The analysis recommends an emphasis on graduated driving laws across more states to allow young drivers to gain more driving experience while being safe and cautious.

Examples of graduated driving laws for minors include restricting cell phone usage (although California has banned the use of cell phones for texting and/or calling regardless of age), prohibiting or restricting nighttime driving, limiting the number of passengers present in the car with the young driver, “novice driver” decals (currently only one state that requires drivers under the age of 21 to put a decal on their vehicles identifying them as “newer” drivers), and requiring the driver to graduate from various driving stages (learner’s permit, a restricted stage, and a full privilege stage).

In addition to strengthening graduated driving laws, researchers behind the study are strongly encouraging states to focus on seat belt laws to reduce the number of injuries and deaths committed by young drivers each year. Delaware’s graduated driving law has a seatbelt provision that requires teenage drivers as well as their passengers under the age of 18 to wear their seat belts or risk having their license suspended for two months.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that auto crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, so driving safety is a huge area of concern for minors. The number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in the United States increased 11% between the first six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011.

Although teen drivers won’t likely be thrilled with stricter graduated driving laws, the safety implications behind the laws might persuade some states to crack down and take a more aggressive stance with younger drivers. Not only will this keep teen drivers safer, it’ll make the roads safer for other motorists as well.

If you have a teen driver this is the best time to be aware of these statistics.  If your teen driver has been in any accident, no matter how minor, this is the perfect time to contact Guenard and Bozarth at 888-809-1075 or at www.gblegal.com and have them evaluated by a competent health care provider.  The pain from a head injury may subside with time and the damage will only get worse.

 

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