Wilmington Teen Drivers Have High Accident Rates
Teens have long had a reputation for being bad drivers. Unfortunately, this is not just a stereotype. Car accident studies consistently find that teen drivers have higher accident rates than older, more experienced drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration corroborates this result and also finds that the trend continues into early adulthood; traffic accidents are also the leading cause of death for young adults ages 21 to 24. These accidents endanger all road users, not just the teen drivers who cause them. Inexperienced teen drivers can cause accidents that injure drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. A Wilmington car accident attorney will help guide these injury victims through the legal claims process.
What States and Parents Can Do to Protect Wilmington Teen Drivers
Like many other states, North Carolina has introduced a Graduated Licensing program for teen drivers. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that this occurs in three phases.
First, a teen who is at least 15 but not older than 18 may obtain a Limited Learner Permit. A supervising driver must accompany a permit holder whenever he or she is driving. During the first six months, the permit holder may only drive between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Permit holders are not allowed to use mobile devices or technology while driving. Second, once a teen driver has held a permit for 12 months, he or she may apply for a Limited Provisional License. This allows for unaccompanied driving between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Limited Provisional License holders may not have more than one passenger under the age of 21. They are also prohibited from using mobile devices and associated technology. Third and finally, after six months of successfully holding a Limited Provisional License, a teen may apply for a Full Provisional License. Full Provisional License holders may drive unsupervised at any time. They are still prohibited from using mobile phones and associated technology while driving.
The Graduated Licensing program makes important provisions to slowly introduce teen drivers to the roadway without the distraction of technology. Parents should promote these goals by enforcing family rules for safe driving. Teens should never be allowed to use mobile devices in violation of state law. Parents should also be sure that passengers are not distracting teens from developing safe driving habits. Like many other states, North Carolina restricts teen drivers from having young passengers. This is because of the correlation between young passengers and teen driver accident rates. Parents should be sure that these legal requirements are not simply abstract laws which their teens ignore. Violations of these laws should have real consequences for teen drivers who put themselves and others in danger.
Of course, no amount of rules can prevent every teen driver's auto accident. Victims who are injured in an accident caused by a teen driver have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses. After any accident, contact a Wilmington car accident attorney in order to best protect your legal rights.