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The Dangers of Teenage Driving and How to Protect ThemThe summer is a time of year when many teens are learning how to drive and getting their driver’s license. While teens may be excited by this life development, parents have reason to be concerned about their safety. Drivers ages 16 to 19 are more likely to be in a vehicle accident than any other age group in the U.S. In 2016, more than 2,400 teens in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle accidents and almost 300,000 were treated for personal injuries. As a parent, you need to be aware of the dangers that teenage drivers face and how you can protect them.

Dangers

The main reason that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents is the most obvious reason: they lack driving experience. Beyond the technical aspects of operating a vehicle, learning to drive is about making quick judgment calls. Teen drivers are more likely to:

  • Drive at speeds that are unsafe for the conditions;
  • Misjudge how they need to react to a hazard;
  • Become distracted by digital devices or friends in the vehicle; and
  • Forget to wear their seatbelts.

Teens may also make poor decisions before they start driving, such as drinking alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. A teen driver with any amount of alcohol in their system is breaking the law. Even if a teen’s blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit for an adult, they may not be able to drive safely with that level of intoxication.

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Rideshare Drivers Face Inherent DistractionsDrivers working for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have the added responsibility for the safety of their passengers, to go along with all drivers’ responsibility to each other on the road. Because of the distractions involved with the job, safe driving advocates wonder whether rideshare drivers are more likely to be in car crashes. Unfortunately, there are no official records of the number of accidents involving rideshare drivers. Police crash reports do not categorize rideshare vehicles for statistical purposes. Unlike taxi cabs, rideshare vehicles are not obviously marked as a commercial vehicle. Analysis of how rideshare drivers operate suggests that they face increased distractions related to their work.

Focus on Phones

Whereas taxi drivers typically use radio dispatch for communications, rideshare drivers communicate using their phones. Drivers have their phones mounted to their dashboards, with their ridesharing app open. The app is used for accepting jobs, giving directions and contacting potential passengers. The rideshare companies say that they design their apps to minimize distractions. However, there are several unavoidable distractions involved with using a phone while driving:

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Finding Witnesses in Your Personal Injury CaseWitnesses can provide important supporting evidence during a personal injury case. Their statements hold weight in lawsuits and insurance claims because they are usually neutral parties. Witnesses are often available for car accidents because the incidents take place on public roads. However, car accident victims need to obtain witness statements soon after the incident. A witness becomes less credible over time because his or her memory of the incident will fade. Your attorney can help you in contacting potential witnesses but was most likely not at the scene of your accident. Assuming you are physically capable of doing so, you can help by talking to people at the scene.

Identifying Good Witnesses

A car accident will draw the attention of everyone around you, but the most helpful witness is someone who saw the circumstances leading to the accident. The witness may be able to explain which party’s actions were at fault for the accident. However, there are several ways a defense attorney may question the credibility of a witness, such as whether:

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Posted on in BGL Law
Highway Safety Tips for Summer TripsSummer is half over, but you still have time for a summer road trip. Highways and interstates see increased usage during the summer as drivers travel to vacation spots or visit relatives. Unfortunately, traffic congestion can throw off your meticulously planned schedule of when you will reach your destination. You can anticipate construction projects, but vehicle accidents may also cause traffic to slow. While this is frustrating, it is also a reminder of the dangers of traveling on a highway or interstate. Accidents on highways are often more catastrophic than on normal roads because of the speed that vehicles travel at. To ensure that you safely complete your trip, you must be aware of the dangers of highway driving.

Speeding

The speed limit on highways is greater than on normal roads, but some drivers feel liberated to travel at a reckless speed. Speeding creates dangerous driving situations because the offending vehicles have less time to react to:

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Pokémon Go While Driving In IllinoisPokémon Go has taken the country by storm but is also raising serious safety concerns as drivers are playing while driving. Pokémon Go players have been warned against playing in certain places, such as the Illinois Veterans' Homes and Arlington National Cemetery, in addition to private property. There have also been warnings advising players to play in groups while playing in unfamiliar areas so as to avoid being attacked or robbed. However, of all the risks associated with the game, playing while driving remains one of the most serious concerns because of the serious injuries and fatalities that can be caused if a driver is distracted.

Pokémon Go is a game in which the players download an app that allows them to hunt virtual reality game characters. Players use their cell phones to find and capture creatures that seem to appear in real life locations when viewed through the app. Players, therefore, have to look at their cell phones when walking or driving in order to see the creatures or view the game's maps for locations of interest and for the location of the next character. In this way, players may concentrate on their cell phones when playing and pay little attention to their surroundings, which may be dangerous while walking, and more so when driving.

The use of cellphones while driving is illegal under Illinois law, and can result in a driver being fined for the use, as well as being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the driver causes the serious injury or death of another person. In addition to it being illegal, the use of a cell phone while driving can lead to a driver being distracted, resulting in serious accidents if the driver collides with another car or object, stops in the middle of traffic, or crashes into pedestrians and cyclists who have the right of way.

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