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Teenage drivers responsible for more deadly crashes

Even though drivers under the age of 21 make up only about 10 percent of all licensed drivers in the United States, they are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal auto accidents in North Carolina and around the country, including drunk driving and distracted driving crashes. According to experts, a primary reason for this is that young drivers have an invincibility complex that makes them believe they can engage in risky activities without consequences.

Texting and driving recently surpassed drunk driving as the top cause of teen deaths in the U.S. While many states have passed laws to curb texting and driving, the legislation has done little to stop the dangerous practice. Studies show that texting while driving increases the chance of a car accident by 23 times, and it claims the lives of 3,000 teenagers every year.

Meanwhile, drunk driving statistics indicate that drivers under 21 are responsible for 17 percent of all fatal alcohol-related crashes nationwide. As with texting and driving, states have passed strict drunk driving laws for underage drivers, but they have not worked. Approximately 2,000 teenagers die in drunk driving crashes each year, and one-third of all teen auto accidents involve alcohol.

To address the issue, experts suggest that teens be educated on the dangers of distracted and drunk driving. Parents should make clear that drinking and driving and texting and driving are never acceptable and establish clear consequences for engaging in such behavior.

Anyone injured in a car accident caused by a drunk or distracted driver may wish to consult with an attorney. In some cases, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for damages. If the claim is successful, the injured victim could receive a settlement for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other applicable damages.

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