Teen Driving Accident Attorney Los Angeles
June 5, 2014
As a teen driving accident attorney in Los Angeles, I have seem my fair share of tragic injuries and fatalities related to dangerous motor vehicle operation activities on the part of teenage drivers and passengers in vehicles being driven by young people. In an attempt to educate the public and decrease these tragedies, I thought I would post some of the more common causes of traffic collisions involving high school age to college age individuals and detail what California law mandates as an attempt to reduce these crashes.What are the most common causes of injury related accidents and fatal traffic collisions among teens?
Motor vehicle crashes in California and nationwide are the number one cause of death among persons age 15 – 19 years old and these deaths are distributed almost 50/50 among drivers and passengers! Youths in this demographic are also involved in a much higher percentage of collisions resulting in bodily injury than just about any other age group. Why is this?
- Traveling With Too Many People in The Car: In a recent study sponsored by General Motors, a thousand teens were surveyed about the driving habits of their peers. Over 40 percent reported not feeling safe when riding as a passenger in a vehicle being driven by one of their peer group. Statistics show that teen drivers tend to become more distracted the higher the occupancy of their vehicle.
- Lack of Seat Belt Use: One in four teens reports either operating a motor vehicle or riding in a car without using a seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the number one way to prevent serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident.
- Distracted Driving: Teen drivers are about 4 times more likely to text or talk on the phone while attempting to operate a car. Distracted driving can also result from interaction with other passengers, listening to music too loudly, or any number of other activities.
- Inexperienced Driving Techniques: Many fatal traffic collisions involving younger drivers are caused by driving too fast for conditions, jerking the steering wheel after going off the road, making abrupt turns in intersections or in front of oncoming traffic or any number of other accident scenarios that demonstrate a lack of driver education and experience.
- Traveling Late At Night or In The Early Morning Hours: Impairment from fatigue and/or drug or alcohol use is much more common among teenage drivers in the late night and early morning hours. This can lead to impaired judgment, poor reaction time, reduced visibility from lower lighting and weather conditions such as fog (common in the early morning hours in Los Angeles and CA) and can result in a crash.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol as still a major cause of injury and death among our youth. Oftentimes, passengers are peer pressured into going along for the ride with an impaired driver and suffer the consequences when there is a wreck.
Driver’s Licensing Rules for New Drivers in CA: In the State of California, driver’s licenses can be issued to new drivers as follows:
- Provisional Driving Permits: California teens above the age of 15 and 1/2 can apply for a provisional permit which allows them to drive only when accompanied by an adult 25 years old or older.
- Drivers above the age of 16 can take a driver’s test only upon proof of a) completion of a driver’s education program; b) completion of 6 hours of professional driver training; and c) proof of 50 hours of practice with an adult at least 25 years or older.
Restriction on Carrying Passengers Under Age 20: The California Vehicle Code restricts underage drivers from transporting passengers under age 20 and transporting passengers between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult for the first twelve months after their license is issued.
Seat Belt Requirement: Every driver and passenger traveling in a motor vehicle in the State of California must be properly restrained (usually with a shoulder and lap harness unless the passenger is a child or the vehicle is not equipped with such devices).
DUI Rules for Persons Under 21: CA law provides a legal blood alcohol limit of .08 percent for persons above 21. For persons under 21, there is a zero tolerance policy which prohibits any measurable amount of alcohol on the part of a young driver. Therefore, even a .01 is a violation and can result in license suspension and/or revocation.Legal liability for personal injuries or fatalities caused by young adult drivers:
As discussed in many other posts in our blog, CA Law provides that, “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” This includes teenage and young adult drivers. In addition, parents of these teens may be responsible both as a registered owner of any vehicle operated by their teenage or young adult child and for any direct negligence including negligent entrustment of the automobile (i.e. lack of “ordinary care” in allowing the use of their motor vehicle).
Many thousands of California teens and their parents throughout the golden state including Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire are able to learn how to drive without incident. Unfortunately, some teens or parents act irresponsibly or without due care in the operation or use of motor vehicles. If such conduct causes an auto accident that that results in injury or death, an experienced personal injury lawyer should be consulted to properly investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and to determine the full extent of civil liability for damages including medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. For a free consultation on any such traffic collision claim, call toll free 866-252-0735.