Thousands of teens in Illinois and around the country are killed in car accidents every year, and a disproportionate number of them lose their lives in crashes that take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Teen traffic fatalities increase by about 14% during this time according to the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, which is why the advocacy organization has dubbed the period the “100 Deadliest Days.”
Nighttime driving and dangerous behavior
After studying fatal accidents involving teen drivers, AAA researchers noticed that a worrying number of young people are killed when they venture out after dark or engage in reckless behavior like speeding, not fastening their seat belts and using cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. More than a third of the deadly motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., and excessive speed is a contributing factor in 29% of all fatal crashes involving teens.
The Illinois Graduated Driver License program
Lawmakers in Illinois took action to reduce teen traffic fatalities in 2008 when they introduced the Graduated Driver License program. Licenses issued under the program do not allow drivers under the age of 18 to operate motor vehicles on public roads between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. between Sunday and Thursday or between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The program also mandates driver training under adult supervision. In the year before the GDL program was introduced, 155 teens were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Illinois. In 2019, that figure had fallen to 41 teen road deaths.
Insurance company litigation
If you are injured in an accident caused by a reckless teen driver, you could feel that pursuing civil remedies is a waste of time because the young person involved may not earn enough to pay damages. In this situation, an experienced personal injury could initiate litigation against the teen’s auto insurance company to seek compensation for your lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering. An attorney could also take legal action against the teen’s parents if they allowed their child to engage in behavior that posed a foreseeable threat to others. Parents could face this kind of lawsuit if they allowed a teen to drive after drinking or using drugs.