Accidents involving pedestrians have become commonplace. Crash-related pedestrian injuries and death are caused by several categories of people with teenagers being at the top of the list.
Teenagers are more likely to cause pedestrian accidents due to inexperienced driving. It takes time to improve one’s driving skills. When teen drivers first start out, they are more likely to cause accidents.
Statistics from the CDC reveal that up to 5,977 pedestrians died from road crashes in 2017 alone. An additional 137,000 experienced non-fatal injuries as a result of these crashes within the same year. This brings the total number of pedestrians affected by road crashes in 2017 to roughly 143,000 [source].
Several of these pedestrian accidents were caused by negligent adult drivers, pedestrian distraction while walking, drunk driving, unsafe drop-offs, poorly designated crosswalks, and malfunctioning traffic lights. However, teen drivers are at a higher risk of causing these accidents for several reasons.
Distracted driving is a significant cause of pedestrian accidents involving teen drivers. This is because teen drivers are easily distracted by electronics. Texting and the frequent use of social media sites are the main activities teens do to pass the time.
Many teenagers have become addicted to their phones and tablets, and driving cannot stop them from using their gadgets. As such, they can deviate from the road and hit a pedestrian while they are staring down at their phone.
They can also get distracted by having their friends in the car, unsecured pets riding along, or eating while driving. Any activity that could distract a teen driver should be put off until they reach their destination.
Speeding is common among teen drivers because they enjoy the adrenaline rush it brings. As such, they can quickly lose control of the car and crash into pedestrians on the sidewalk. They could also run a red light or hit a pedestrian crossing the road on a crosswalk and cause accidents.
Many teenagers are also still learning time management skills and may be driving themselves to events for the first time. It’s important to talk to your teen driver about leaving early to avoid the temptation to speed when running late.
Sleeping at the Wheel
Using electronic devices at night can deprive you of sleep or interrupt your natural sleep cycle. Teenagers have a habit of staying up late using mobile phones and tablets. Lack of adequate sleep can impair judgment or make them fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving puts pedestrians at higher risk for accidents.
Teen drivers enjoy staying out late at night. Driving at night is generally not safe because the visibility of the driver is reduced. Although there are headlights in every car, they cannot adequately illuminate roads like the daylight.
As such, teen drivers who enjoy staying out late and driving at night will not properly see all road signs or pedestrians, which will lead to a higher chance of accidents.
Drunk While Intoxicated
Some teen drivers indulge in underage drinking. They then drive while drunk and increase the risk of crash-related injuries and fatalities of pedestrians.
However, alcohol is not the only concern. With the legalization and increased availability of marijuana, teens may now be at risk for driving while high. Even if they don’t think their judgment is impaired, partaking of any drugs or alcohol will greatly increase a driver’s chances of being in an accident.
Despite all these risk factors, there are ways to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries. For instance, getting educated about pedestrian safety can prevent accidents. Pedestrian safety education will include things like:
- Only cross the street at designated crosswalks or intersections
- Use the sidewalk and face oncoming traffic. This way, pedestrians can see an oncoming vehicle that might otherwise cause an accident
- Remain vigilant near roads. Pedestrians should avoid using distracting devices like phones and earbuds when they walk near traffic
- Carry a flashlight to illuminate the path at night
- Wear reflective clothes at night
Even when pedestrians are following standard precautions for road safety and teen drivers are educated about safe driving tactics, accidents can still happen. Sometimes lasting injuries result. If your teen driver has been in an accident or you were a pedestrian involved in an accident, your attorney can help you decide what to do next.