Teenagers often have a sense of invincibility. Sure, they know bad things happen to other people, but they do not anticipate that those same bad things will happen to them. Take distracted driving, for example. Teenagers may know that using a cellphone to text while driving, chatting with passengers in the car or in other ways taking their eyes and attention off the road could lead to a car accident that could injure or kill another person. However, this doesn't stop teenagers from engaging in those very same behaviors while behind the wheel. And, as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows, teen distracted driving is a serious safety issue in our nation.
According to the NHTSA, across the board in 2016, 3,450 people lost their lives in accidents involving distracted driving. And, for teens between the ages of 15 and 19, when it came to fatal crashes, 9 percent of the distracted drivers involved were teens. And, sadly, in 2016 there were 339 individuals who lost their lives in car accidents involving a distracted teen driver.
Distracted driving can be considered negligent behavior. All drivers, no matter what their age, are tasked with driving in a manner that is reasonable under the circumstances. This means not just following traffic laws, but also paying attention to the road and the task of driving. Motorists must be able to react appropriately to changes in traffic flow, weather conditions or adverse road conditions. If a driver breaches this duty because they were distracted and causes an accident in which another person was injured or killed, that driver might face liability for the crash.
Teens are still maturing into adults, so it is especially important that they understand the dangers of distracted driving. Sadly, even some adults in South Carolina need reminders that distracted driving is dangerous not just to them, but to everyone else on the road. Should a distracted driver cause an accident, they should be held accountable to those they injured in the crash.