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Young people and dangerous driving

New Jersey drivers who are younger than 21 are disproportionately responsible for accidents that involve driving while under the influence of alcohol or while texting or talking on a cellphone. Approximately 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in the United States are caused by drivers under the age of 21, and around 2,000 young people are killed each year due to driving while intoxicated.

Texting while driving is even more dangerous and is responsible for about 3,000 fatalities annually. A person who is texting is 23 times more likely to have an accident while someone dialing a cellphone is almost three times more likely. A person who is reaching for a device has an accident risk that is 1.4 times higher while the risk for someone who is talking on a device is 1.3 times higher. Unfortunately, laws against texting and using cellphones while driving do not seem to have made a significant impact.

One problem that arises in dealing with teen drivers is that they feel they are invincible. This makes it difficult to convince them that their actions might have serious consequences. Experts recommend better education and communication with teenagers to raise awareness about the dangers of these behaviors.

A car crash due to a young driver who is texting, talking on a cellphone or under the influence of alcohol can have far-reaching consequences. An injured victim may have serious injuries, and the driver who caused the crash may be uninsured or underinsured. The insurance company might also offer too little compensation. In such a case, the victim may wish to consult an attorney to discuss whether it might be advisable to file a lawsuit. For example, being distracted by a cellphone may in some cases be considered negligence, making the driver responsible for the damages that have been sustained.

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