Risks of teen drivers to Washington residents

Although only 10 percent of drivers in America are under the age of 21, they are responsible for 17 percent of alcohol-related fatal crashes. This is despite the fact that in most states, minor drivers who have a blood-alcohol content of over .02 percent can be charged with a DUI.

Texting while driving is another risky behavior that teens tend to engage in while behind the wheel. Each year, 3,000 teenagers are killed in accidents related to using a cell phone while driving, which is more than the 2,000 who die each year in alcohol-related crashes. Overall, sending a text message while driving increases the odds of a crash by 23 percent. Additionally, it can reduce a teenage driver’s reaction time to that of an average 70-year-old driver.

Those who study the issue say that the best way to reduce risky behavior is education. Parents should talk to their teens about the risks of using a phone while driving and that calls and texts should only be made when a car is parked. Teens who know where to go for help may also be less likely to operate a motor vehicle while impaired or ride with someone who is impaired.

Anyone who suffers auto injuries in an accident caused by an impaired or distracted driver may wish to talk to a personal injury attorney. A lawyer may be able to review the case and determine what type of compensation an injured victim is entitled to. In many cases, compensation is available to reimburse victims for medical bills and lost wages. Funds to cover long-term care costs may also be available.