Auto Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

Most Ohio drivers have a general idea of what happens when you are hurt in a car accident, another driver damages your property, or someone you love is killed in a car crash. The other driver is usually responsible for any damages caused, and their insurance company will pay for any damages caused as a result of the car accident. But what happens when the accident is caused by a teen driver? When a teenager is at fault for causing a car accident, there are unique factors that must be considered.

Accident Statistics for Ohio Teen Drivers

Statistically, teen drivers are more likely than older adults to engage in risky driving behaviors.

According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, teen drivers were involved in 15% of car accidents from 2016 to 2018, yet only account for 4% of all licensed drivers. During that time period, teen drivers were responsible for 8% of traffic fatalities and 12% of driving-related injuries.

In 71% of accidents involving teen drivers, the teen was partially or wholly responsible for causing the crash.

Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

The most common causes of accidents involving teen drivers involve distracted driving. Even though teen drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone or other mobile device while driving, they may be distracted by other factors like the radio, passengers in the vehicle, or eating or drinking while driving. Many use a cell phone despite being prohibited from doing so.

In addition, teens simply have less experience behind the wheel than adults. This inexperience can cause them to make poor choices and take unnecessary risks while driving. These actions increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident with a teen driver.

Teen Driver Drinking and Driving

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenage drivers in America. While the percentage of teen drivers who drink and drive has declined by over 50% since 1991, drinking and driving is still a major cause of alcohol-related car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,874 drunk driving deaths in 2017, and 14% of those were caused by teen drunk driving.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a first-degree misdemeanor, and a teen who is charged with DUI will have their license immediately suspended.

The legal Blood Alcohol Content limit for a driver under age 21 is .02%. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a first-degree misdemeanor, and a teen who is charged with DUI will have their license immediately suspended.

Teen Driving Laws

Teen drivers are subject to different laws than adult drivers. For example, teen drivers who have had their license for less than 12 months are prohibited from driving between midnight and 6 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, driving to or from work, driving during an emergency, or driving to or from a school or religious event. Drivers who have had their license for more than 12 months but are under age 18 are prohibited from driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Teens are prohibited from using a cell phone or other mobile device while driving, even in hands-free mode. Distracted driving is a primary offense for teens, meaning a teenager can be pulled over and ticketed if a law enforcement officer sees them using a mobile device in any way while driving.

Teens are not permitted to have more than one non-family member in the vehicle unless the teen driver is accompanied by a parent or guardian.

When a teen is driving, the driver and all passengers are required to wear seatbelts.

Teen Driver Insurance

In Ohio, a teen driver’s application for a temporary permit, restricted license, or probationary license must be signed by a parent or guardian. The adult who signs the application agrees to be legally responsible for the actions of the teenage driver, including “any negligence, or willful or wanton misconduct, that is committed by a minor under eighteen years of age when driving a motor vehicle.” The adult can be held jointly and severally liable for any damages caused by the teen. This means that both the teen and the adult share responsibility and can be held 100% responsible for any injuries or property damage caused by the teen driver.

Just like adult drivers, teen drivers are required to carry automobile liability insurance to cover any damages caused. In most cases, the teen driver’s insurance company will cover any damages caused by a teen driver who is involved in a car accident.

Robenalt Law: Fighting for Compensation for Car Accident Victims

If you or someone you love was hurt in a car accident with a teen driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Car accident victims and their families are entitled to compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional trauma
  • The cost of past and future medical care

The car accident injury lawyers at Robenalt Law can analyze the facts of your claim, negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company and, if necessary, represent you in court.

At Robenalt Law, we fight for justice for our clients every day. We invite you to learn more about our lawyers and why people choose us, to get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and to contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to review your case.

With an office in Westlake, we represent people in Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing corporate defendants and insurance companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help people who have been catastrophically injured or killed in car accidents.