As one of New Jersey's top accident law firms, we at Mintz & Geftic always pay close attention to the hazards that drivers face on the roadways of the Garden State. In the past year, we have shared several posts dealing with this important topic.
This past January we put on our meteorologist hats (or maybe just watched the Weather Channel) and predicted the Blizzard of 2016, then shared the top winter driving myths.
We informed the parents of young children about seat back failure and the risk it presents for kids sitting in the back seat.
Finally, one year ago this month, we first addressed distracted driving and urged New Jersey drivers to Put Down the Cellphone. In the past year since that post, what was a serious danger has developed into a full-blown epidemic that is causing accidents and taking lives at an alarming rate. (Side note - are there any epidemics that aren't full blown?)
DISTRACTED DRIVING - FULL-BLOWN EPIDEMIC
When it comes to distracted driving, the latest reports and accident statistics are absolutely startling. These reports become even more startling when people start to realize that each number isn't merely a "statistic". These numbers can be your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors....and sadly for many parents, these numbers can be your children.
Distracted driving has reached such dangerous levels that CNN has devoted a full series to the subject on their website, titled "DWD: Driving While Distracted", along with a TV special.
We are going to provide our own series of blogs as well here on our website, citing excerpts from CNN while offering our own commentary as it relates to drivers in New Jersey. Today, we will address the risks for teen drivers.
The 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers
We are in the middle of this year's 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers, which are the days that come between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
From 2010 to 2014, more than 5,000 people have died in crashes involving teen drivers in those 100 days, AAA said today. A new study by the association's Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that nearly 60% of teen crashes involved distracted drivers. AAA says that over the past five years, the average number of crashes involving drivers ages 16-19 increased 16% per day during the "100 deadliest days," compared with other days of the year. (CNN)
There are a number of reasons why these days bring about more accidents for teen drivers. Kids are out of school, which typically means they have much more free time. Instead of driving to and from school, teens are now driving to beaches, amusement parks or other places where they're probably not as familiar with the roads. Driving on new roads is a factor, but one of the main reasons for the risk increase during those 100 days is that teens might be driving more frequently with more of their friends.
Passengers increase the risk of a teen driver having a fatal crash by at least 44%, according to the National Safety Council.
Parents are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of distracted driving when it comes to texting and the use of cell phones. However, parents might not always be as focused on the danger that comes with an increased number of passengers.
A 2014 study found that loud conversations and horseplay between passengers were more likely than technology to result in a dangerous incident involving teen drivers. When there was loud conversation in the car, teen drivers were six times more likely to need to take actions like making an evasive maneuver to avoid a crash. When there was horseplay in the vehicle, they were three times more likely to get into a similarly serious episode, according to the study. (CNN)
In upcoming blogs, we will continue to address the important facts when it comes to Distracted Driving.