A 10-year-old boy died recently after being struck by a car in Broadview, Illinois. The boy was riding his bike when a 17-year-old driver hit him, according to The Chicago Tribune. The boy died in the hospital a day after the accident. The Broadview Police Department is currently investigating the causes and circumstances of the accident.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers recognize the compounded misfortune in the case due to the fact that both people involved were minors. No parent wants to lose their child or see their child suffer. Unfortunately, the age group in which drivers are most likely to be involved in accidents is teenagers, ranging from 16 to 19-years-old.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published some enlightening statistics on this age group. 16-year-old drivers have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, approximately doubling the crash rate per mile driven of 18 and 19-year-olds. 18 percent of all car crash fatalities in the U.S. involved a teenage driver. In 2009, two thirds of teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes were male. Clearly, the prevalence of teen driving accidents is a real concern. So what are the likely causes of such statistics?
For one, teenage drivers and passengers are the age group least likely to wear seat belts. Further, 55 percent of vehicle occupants’ ages 16 to 20 that were killed in accidents were not buckled up. Seatbelts are the foremost protection in fatal car crashes, and thus, it is no surprise that the age group forgoing such protection subsequently has one of the highest fatality rates.
Additionally, cellphone use is highest among 16 to 24-year-olds. As our Chicago car accident attorneys have discussed many time before, cellphone use is a form of distracted driving, and can potentially constitute negligence. The reason it can constitute negligence is because cellphone use empirically increasing driving risks. The driver’s attention is split and they become much less aware of their surroundings.
Lastly, drinking is especially prevalent among young people. Due to their lack of experience with alcohol, most over consume it and put themselves in situations they otherwise would not be. As such, one third of young drivers ages 15 to 20 who were killed in an accident had a BAC of .01 or higher. 28 percent had a BAC of .08, the legal driving BAC limit, or higher.
The end result is that, in 2009 alone, a total of nearly 3,500 teens died from fatal car accidents. Fatal car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens of both genders in the United States. Apart from the intense emotional pain and suffering inflicted on family and friends, property and medical damages totaled nearly 34 billion dollars in 2006 alone.
The sobering reality of the situation is that teens are at a proportionally greater risk than most other age groups when driving, whether it is from their actions or those of their peers. The damages done to them and their families are overwhelmingly immense. In many of these cases legal action and restitution may be possible. If you or a loved one are injured or killed as a result of another’s negligence, you can contact our Illinois car accident lawyers to find out what rights may be available to you.