Emergency rooms in Georgia and around the country were fully staffed over Memorial Day weekend in preparation for what is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year. The start of the summer driving season is marked by a surge in motor vehicle accidents, and many of them involve young and inexperienced drivers. Accidents involving teen drivers claimed the lives of more than 3,500 road users between 2013 and 2017 according to the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety, and a disproportionate number of them died in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
During this period, fatalities in accidents involving teen drivers increase by about 15%, and nearly two in three of the victims are people other than the young person behind the wheel. The most common causes of these crashes are distraction, impairment, recklessness and inexperience.
Road safety experts say that proper driving training and parental intervention are the best ways to keep teens safe on the roads. Experts also support graduated driver's license programs for young drivers. In Georgia, all 16-year-olds who apply for a Class D driver's license must spend 40 hours behind the wheel under the supervision of a qualified adult and complete a state-approved driver education course.
Negligent teen drivers who cause serious car accidents rarely have the means to make restitution for their reckless behavior, but that does not mean that their victims are unable to pursue remedies in civil court. In these situations, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation against the teen driver's car insurance company. Parents or guardians might also be held legally responsible if they acted negligently by allowing an untrained or intoxicated teenager to get behind the wheel.
Source: Darienite, AAA: Deadliest 100 Days of the Year for Teen Drivers (and Passengers) Has Just Begun, Staff report, May 31, 2019 Source: Driver's Ed., Graduated Drivers License (GDL)