The Inherent Risks of Teen Driving and Personal Injury
Can you guess the number one killer of those under the age of 20? According to a fact sheet issued by the New Jersey government, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in our state. Sadly, this statistic hits close to home. A teenage passenger recently lost his life in an accident on Route 440 in Jersey City. His friend, a 17-year-old boy, was the driver and survived the crash.
This was not the first accident of its type in recent history. It was only weeks ago that a similar crash occurred in Randolph. Two teenagers died in a crash there at the end of last month. Although not all teenage motor vehicle accidents result in fatalities, a great number involve serious personal injury. One can easily figure out the reasons:
- Driver inexperience
- Driver inattentiveness – this can range from texting or talking on the cellphone. It can also include interacting with other passengers.
- Overconfidence – The driver may feel they have complete control of the vehicle.
- Driving an unsafe vehicle because of limitations on funds
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
New Jersey has attempted to combat the teen driving and accident ratio. Teen drivers are subject to certain restrictions under the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program. In short, the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles has supervisory requirements for individuals under the age of 21 who receive their first license. The details fall into three categories:
- Early Bird Road: Prospective drivers may get their student learner’s permit at age 16. There are a number of restrictions, including six months of supervised driving. The person who supervises the driver must be over 21 and be seated as a front seat passenger. They must also have their New Jersey State Driver’s License for at least three years. No one under age 17 may drive after 11:01 pm and before 5:00 am. This program progresses onto a probationary license and basic driver license for those 18 and over. The time restrictions apply during the probationary license period. This description is not inclusive of all the restrictions in this category.
- Young Adult Road: This follows many of the same guidelines as the Early Bird Road designation. The basic difference is that it is available to those over age 17 who receive an examination permit. Time restrictions as stated above also apply.
- Adult Road: This applies to drivers over 18 and is similar to the Young Adult Road path. There are no restrictions concerning the time the new driver is permitted to operate the vehicle.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a teenaged driver, it is important to seek the advice of legal counsel. Jersey City personal injury attorney Anthony Carbone has handled cases of this nature for over 25 years. Please contact us for further information.