Good news: for years teenage traffic fatalities declined in Texas. From 2005 to 2014, the number of teen deaths dropped by 51 percent. Texas’s graduated licensing program, education, and safer cars seemed to be making a positive impact.
Bad news: in 2015 things took a turn for the worse when teen deaths unfortunately spiked by 9 percent. And based on what I’ve seen in my practice as an injury lawyer, I’m not optimistic about the release of the 2016 statistics.
How can we stop this from happening? And what can you do if you crashed into by a teenage driver?
Teens: drunk driving and speeding are nothing to brag about
Last week’s horrific YouTube video of an 18 year-old driving drunk and killing her younger sister and a Snapchat video which recorded a woman partying in the days before she was killed in a drunk driving crash have gone viral.
These videos ended tragically, but others in which drunk and speeding teen drivers miraculously survive continue to pop up on social media and actually be liked by peers and followers. The teens enjoy a few moments of minor fame for their risky escapade, which may be encouraging others to follow suit.
Today’s new MADD campaign calls on social media companies to follow their policies regarding offensive content and remove videos and pictures that brag about putting lives in jeopardy. The campaign uses the hashtag #nomoreethans, referring to the Fort Worth teenager who killed four people and injured other teenagers in a horrific drunk driving crash in 2013.
MADD asks “Are we creating the next generation of Ethan Couches?” The very drunk/drugged Ethan Couch was given a slap on the wrist because he suffered from “affluenza,” a made-up condition in which a person’s wealth and coddling make him unable to understand the consequences of his actions.
The constant posting of videos and pictures of teens driving recklessly normalizes the dangerous behavior. The close calls and even the crash appear like something in a movie or a video game. It may be easy for a teen to forget that a real person is placed at risk or injured when things go wrong. The consequences seem remote or, as with Ethan Couch, entirely insignificant.
How parents can help
There is no reason that the rate for fatalities for 16-19 year olds should be three times higher than for older drivers. Or that 16-17 year olds should die twice as often as 18-19 year olds.
But social media, movies, and video games have sensationalized risk-taking and driven the popularity of reckless behavior to win recognition. Being aware of what your kids post may help you identify and address dangerous actions. But, this is only one piece of the problem. The CDC has identified eight danger zones:
- Driver inexperience
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
- Not using seat belts
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
Rectifying these issues would put the teen traffic fatalities stats back on the right track. You can help by setting clear rules for your teen and implementing real consequences if he or she does not comply.
Maybe make your teen works off the speeding ticket or pays for it himself. Take away driving privileges in response to your teen’s texting while driving. Losing the keys or having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for a ticket may outweigh any advantage to not buckling up or taking a selfie.
Legal Help For Victims Of Car and Truck Collisions
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a teenaged driver or any other driver, you may be allowed to receive compensation for your damges such as medical bills and lost wages. compensation. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
At Berenson Injury Law, we fight to help our clients get you the maximum compensation possible. Please contact us for a free case evaluation. The call or meeting is free and there is no obligation.