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Not surprisingly, teen car accident rates are higher than for any other age group. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, teenage driver crash risk factors include:
Poor hazard detection. Young drivers have not yet developed information-gathering and perceptual skills.
Low risk perception. Novice drivers tend to overestimate their ability to react to driving hazards.
Risk taking. Young driver are overconfident in their abilities and engage more often in speeding, tailgating, running red lights, etc.
Seat belts. Teenagers tend to skip the safety belt more often than older drivers.
Lack of skill. Novice drivers haven’t mastered basic vehicle-handling and safe driving skills.
Drugs or alcohol. Teenage drunk drivers are more likely to cause a serious accident than experienced drivers with equal blood-alcohol levels.
Passengers.Teenage drivers are easily distracted by passengers in the car–especially other teens.
Night driving. The crash rate for teenage drivers is three times higher after 9:00 pm than during the day.
In addition, teenagers are used to frequently texting and using their cell phones. This type of distracted driving is easily one of the most dangerous situations on the road.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver, you may be worried that you won’t be able to recoup your damages. Of course a teenaged driver is required to carry car insurance just like any other driver, but what if their policy limit doesn’t cover your medical and property damage expenses? If the driver was using a family car, there is potential for the parents to be liable under the Family Purpose Doctrine. Likewise, vicarious liability may be established if the teen driver was using a borrowed car. A car owner has a responsibility to make sure the car is operated safely.
You should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in our office as soon as possible after the accident, preferably before you contact any insurance companies. We will give you a free and sympathetic case evaluation to help you determine the best course of action and make sure you get the most just results. We have attorneys who are fluent in Spanish and Chinese, and we’re available to meet in Sacramento, Roseville, Oakland, or a Northern California city that is convenient for you.