Thousands of teen drivers are killed or injured in car accidents around the country each year, and many of them are distracted when they crash. Cellphone use is widely regarded as the leading cause of driver distraction in Virginia and elsewhere, but researchers at Michigan State University found that teen motorists are more likely to be involved in a collision when their attention is caught by something outside the vehicle like an accident or police traffic stop.
The researchers came to this conclusion after studying how 3,400 drivers behaved behind the wheel between 2011 and 2013. Instruments mounted inside vehicles monitored the drivers, and their behavior was then sorted into more than 60 categories. The cause of motor vehicle accidents was then determined based on the data collected and police incident reports. The researchers paid particularly close attention to cellphone use and noted whether the devices were being used to make phone calls or send text messages in the moments before a crash.
Teen drivers emerged as the demographic group most prone to distraction and the most likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident. Rubbernecking and other external distractions emerged as the leading cause of crashes, but intense cellphone use, such as browsing the internet or texting, was also found to be extremely dangerous.
Individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident may feel that pursuing civil remedies is futile when the negligent party is a teen driver with limited financial resources. In these situations, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for a car accident victim’s injury, loss or damage by filing a lawsuit against the reckless teen driver’s insurance provider. Attorneys could also sue the parents involved if they knew their child posed a threat to other road users and allowed them to get behind the wheel anyway.