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Teen distracted driving: Graphic teen crash video by MDOT

April 24, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Distracted Driving Awareness Month highlights most dangerous and deadly behavior by Michigan teen drivers

We’re into the last week of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as auto accident attorneys we would like to turn today to the subject of teen driving. To be clear, distracted driving poses a dangerous threat for all drivers. Since I’ve received more than a few e-mails over the years on this subject, mostly from angry teens who feel they are being unfairly singled out by blogs like this one, I guess the answer is, yes, you are being singled out. But teen drivers are singled out for a reason. Studies and statistics repeatedly show teens to be the most deadly drivers of any age group (the elderly are second).

Why are teen drivers so much more likely to cause or be involved in serious injury car accidents? These drivers are younger, and their inexperience makes them more likely to use poor or dangerous driving judgment. Drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And although younger drivers only represent 13 percent of all licensed drivers, they cause 28 percent of all car crashes and 24 percent of all fatal wrongful death car crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

Car accidents are also the No. 1 killer of teen drivers.

There’s a new graphic video PSA by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Traffic Improvement Association. It’s an actual reenactment of a fatal distracted driving car accident caused by teens. It has law enforcement, ambulances, first responders, scared and bloody teens and crashed cars:

As an auto accident attorney, I’m not out to scare people (that normally happens by one’s own auto insurance company about three or four months after a car crash when they receive letters from their claims adjuster sending them to so-called independent medical examiners, but I digress). The reason I think it is important to share videos like this is because they are helpful learning tools for teens. There is always a disconnect between “talk” from an adult, and experiencing something through one’s own eyes. These videos are disturbing and influential. And they need to be to get the message across.

We also believe that parents – no matter how uncool your teen thinks you are – must talk openly about distracted driving with their teen drivers and ask them to make a promise to not text and drive. And better yet, serve as an example when you are behind the wheel.

You can also remind your teens, especially given the new, tougher graduated drivers licensing laws (GDL) for teens, that texting while driving is illegal in Michigan.

Taking these measures is a start to preventing deadly car accidents at the hands of teen drivers.

Steven Gursten is a Michigan auto accident attorney and head of Michigan Auto Law. He president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve frequently writes and speaks on distracted driving and Michigan auto laws, and is available for comment.

Related Information:

No. 1 cause of death for children in Michigan – car accidents

UK teen texting while driving PSA

What to do at the scene of an auto accident

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (248) 353-7575 or to speak with one of our Michigan auto accident attorneys.

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