New Mexico car accident lawyer explains dangers and how to stay safe
A recent study found that young drivers who operate a cellphone while driving (whether it’s talking on the phone or texting while driving) engage in other risky behaviors behind the wheel and are more likely to be involved in a car accident. Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted the study of drivers between the ages of 18-24 years old.
“This study found that frequent cellphone use while driving was only one indicator of a more general pattern of risky driving practices associated with prior crashes in young drivers,” said lead study author Elizabeth Walshe, PhD. Walsh is a research scientist at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP. She's also co-leader of CHOP’s Neuroscience of Driving research program.
A total of 384 young drivers participated in the study. Overall, 73 percent of drivers in the study admitted to using a cellphone while driving. Researchers also found that drivers who used a cellphone behind the wheel were more likely to:
- exceed the speed limit
- run a red light
- aggressively pass other vehicles
- engage in other risky driving behaviors
How common are car accidents involving cellphones?
Texting while driving and using a cellphone behind the wheel is against the law in many states across the country. Many drivers still use their phones while driving, however, often resulting in serious car accidents.
More than 3,000 people die each year in accidents caused by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are many different types of distracted driving, including looking up directions while driving or adjusting the radio while driving. Many distracted driving accidents involve drivers talking on a cellphone or texting while driving.
One study estimated that 23 percent of all car accidents and 13 percent of fatal distracted driving accidents involve cellphone use in some form, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This is why many states, including New Mexico, have laws banning texting while driving, as well as even using a hand-held cellphone while driving.
What are the common causes of young driver accidents?
Accidents caused by younger drivers, especially teenage drivers, happen far more often than many people might realize. Motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death among children 13-19 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 2,400 teenagers die and more than 250,000 nationwide are severely injured each year and need to be treated in an emergency room as a result of car accidents.
Along with texting while driving or using a cellphone behind the wheel, some of the other reasons why teen drivers cause so many accidents, according to the CDC, include:
- Driver inexperience and the inability to accurately judge dangerous situations
- Teenage drivers are more likely to speed than older drivers
- Alcohol and drunk driving plays a role in 24 percent of fatal accidents involving teen drivers
- Teenagers are less likely to wear a seatbelt than older drivers, often resulting in more serious injuries or fatalities
- Driving at night can be especially dangerous for teen drivers. Forty percent of fatal car accidents involving teens occur at night
- Driving on weekends can be dangerous for teens, as well. Fifty-two percent of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers take place on Friday, Saturday or Sunday
Young drivers put themselves and others at risk on the road. This is why more needs to be done to educate young drivers about how to stay safe on the road and not cause accidents that injure them or others.
Why should I hire a lawyer after an accident?
Some people assume they don’t need an attorney if a young driver caused their accident. They think it is clear that the driver broke the law, whether it’s texting while driving or exceeding the speed limit.
Unfortunately, even the most straightforward car accidents often turn out to be complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s because the young driver denies doing anything wrong. Other times, they might try to claim you were somehow at fault.
Insurance companies can also be difficult to deal with. This is the case especially in at-fault insurance states like New Mexico. Here, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for financially compensating injury victims. Instead of simply paying for your accident expenses, many insurance companies hire attorneys to defend their actions and deny your injury claim.
Car accident lawyer Andras Szantho and his talented legal team at the Szantho Law Firm, P.C. can help you level the playing field. We have years of experience investigating serious motor vehicle accidents. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of how the legal system works in New Mexico. We know exactly what evidence to look for and which strategies can often be the most effective. We have such a strong track record of getting sizable settlements and verdicts for injury victims and their families.