Improving spring weather brings with it an increased risk of motor-vehicle accidents involving teenagers, particularly through spring break, graduation and the beginning of summer break.
Knowing what to do if you’re in a Colorado auto accident is important; contacting a Denver car accident lawyer should be among your first priorities. The consequences of traffic collisions involving teenagers are in the news on a near-daily basis. Recently, the Denver Post reported on an accident that killed a 17-year-old Aurora youth. Both speed and alcohol are suspected factors in the crash. Police report the driver of a Ford Expedition may have been drunk and speeding when he ran a red light and struck the teen’s vehicle. The incident occurred shortly after midnight near East Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street.
It appears in this case the teen was victimized by the poor decisions of another driver. However, teens remain at high risk of accidents caused by their own poor driving choices or the poor driving choices of friends. As Forbes Magazine reported, a recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that 10 percent of teens who say they never drive intoxicated admit to driving after drinking an alcoholic beverage. The same study found a high percentage of teens who say they don’t text and drive admit to texting while stopped at a red light. In other words, teens do no fully understand the possible consequences of some of their decisions behind the wheel. Other common risk factors for teenagers include driving at night or driving with more than one passenger in the vehicle.
The Colorado Department of Transportation administers the state’s graduated driver’s licensing program, which aims to introduce the responsibilities of driving to teens in stages. This includes prohibiting passengers for teen drivers under the age of 21 for the first six months. Only one passenger under the age of 21 is permitted for the first year, during which time teens are also prohibited from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. By law, all teenage drivers and passengers must wear their seat belts. Teen drivers are also prohibited from using a cell phone or text messaging.
Still, a young driver’s learning should not stop simply because the state has lifted basic restrictions. Reviewing the Colorado Driver Handbook, and entering into a teen-driving contract with your young driver are both steps you can take to outline your expectations and reduce the risk of your child being involved in a serious or fatal accident.
Drunk driving and speeding remain the leading causes of preventable traffic fatalities in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third of Colorado’s fatal traffic collisions involve a driver under the influence of alcohol. These collisions were blamed for 167 of the state’s 472 traffic deaths in 2012, according to statistics just released by the agency. Share these facts with your young driver and help prevent road tragedies this spring.
Contact Bell & Pollock at (877) 744-5900 to schedule a consultation with a car accident lawyer in Denver.