When summer arises, more teens in the New Orleans area are on the road as they drive to summer jobs, to visit friends or if they are simply “cruising.” However, teenagers do not have the experience of older drivers and may not always see the dangers of distracted driving, especially when it comes to texting and driving. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of teen fatalities in the U.S. However, one study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that laws banning teens from texting and driving can save lives.
Teen texting and driving bans save lives, study says
The study examined fatal crash rates of motorists between the ages of 16 and 19, and state distracted driving laws. It found that states where texting and driving was a primary offense saw fewer car accident fatalities involving teen motorists. Primary offenses are those in which a driver can be pulled over and cited for.
However, teen death rates dropped even in states where texting and driving was a secondary offense. Secondary offenses are those that can only be cited if the motorist is pulled over for another lawful reason.
According to the study, states with distracted driving laws saw one-third fewer deadly crashes involving teen drivers from 2007 to 2017. The study analyzed over 38,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers and passengers.
However, bans cannot prevent all accidents
While this information provides some hope that banning distracted driving activities, such as cellphone use, can lead to fewer fatal accidents, the fact of the matter is that fatal accidents will continue to occur even with bans. Fatal accidents involving teens are especially tragic, as these young people had their whole lives in front of them. The families of those who have lost their lives in accidents involving teen drivers will want to take the steps necessary to determine what their legal rights and options are moving forward.