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Teen Drivers: Are They More Dangerous?

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States and in New Jersey. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than all other drivers. Further, 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving, even though 97 percent understand just how dangerous it is. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

In addition to being the most distracted drivers on the road, teens are also more inexperienced and tend to engage in risky behaviors, such as failing to wear a seatbelt and driving while intoxicated. Research has shown that teens use seatbelts less than any other age group, and nearly four out of 10 teen drivers in deadly car accidents had a blood-alcohol level of at least .01 percent. In deadly accidents, 56 percent of teen drivers and 65 percent of their passengers failed to wear seatbelts. A majority of teens killed in car accidents were speeding. According to statistics released by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, teen drivers were involved in 47,960 crashes in 2009. On average, a teen crashes every 10 minutes in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, teens gradually take on the responsibility of being a driver through the state’s Graduate Driver License law (GDL). Among other provisions, the GDL law:

  • Prohibits teens from driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • Prohibits a teen from transporting more than one other person, unless a parent or guardian accompanies the teen or the passengers are the teen’s dependents
  • Requires teens to display a GDL decal on any vehicle they drive.
  • Imposes a $100 fine if teens violate the GDL law. 

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney who can fight for the compensation you deserve.

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