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Car accidents a leading cause of teenage deaths in South Carolina

Oct. 19 was the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week. As such, it seems appropriate to touch on a few statistics behind issues facing teenage drivers and key facts parents may not be aware of. As car accidents are a leading cause of teenage deaths, both here in South Carolina and across the country, it also seems an opportune time to address teenage behaviors when behind the wheel and how proper driver's education and good model behavior can help resolve any problems.

More teenagers lose their lives in car accidents than any other activity. The most vulnerable time for new drivers is the first year after receiving their driver's license, as inexperience behind the wheel is a major contributing factor to these accidents. Distractions, such as passengers, are another issue that can increase the chance of a teen driver being involved in a fatal collision by 44 percent. This number reportedly increases with multiple passengers in the vehicle. Night time driving, the lack of seat belt use and a variety of other distractions also increase the chance for auto accidents.

While most states do have specific laws regarding teenage drivers, including curfews and limitations on carrying passengers, these restrictions alone do not seem to be enough to reduce the number of fatal accidents teens are involved in each year. According to one survey, approximately 80 percent of teenage drivers reported that their parents driving habits affect their own behavior behind the wheel. Having adequate driver's training, good model behavior to emulate and clear expectations for driving habits seem to be the key elements in reducing teenage car accidents.

Car accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of their age. Sadly, many of these accidents claim the lives of South Carolina's youth. If these accidents occur due to someone else's negligence, surviving family members of these young drivers may pursue legal action against the individual deemed responsible. Wrongful death claims can be filed, and, if successfully litigated, may result in monetary compensation for any damages sustained due to the crash.

Source: teensafedriving.org, "10 things many parents don't know about teen driving", Oct. 16, 2014

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