Teen-driver deaths go down in California, but increase nationwide

Posted on March 13, 2013 by

On behalf of The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

In today’s high-tech society it may seem impossible for many teenagers to put down their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Yet that is exactly what California drivers should be doing, because distracted driving could cause a serious car accident, resulting in severe injuries or even death.

According to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, teen-driver fatalities in California have dropped from six deaths in the first six months of 2011 to four deaths in the first six months of 2012. This is in contrast with national trends, which saw an increase of 19 percent in the number of deaths caused by teen drivers overall.

The study cited distracted driving as one of the main factors contributing to this trend. Teenagers may be particularly susceptible to distracted driving due to their relative inexperience in operating a motor vehicle and their tendency to engage in texting and driving and other cell phone use while on the road. According to the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, of all fatal accidents involving teenagers, 74 percent of these teens were found to be at fault in the crash. This is so, even though teenagers only constitute 3.7 percent of the state’s licensed drivers.

When a traffic accident results in a fatality, the victim’s loved ones may seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit brought by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. To prevail in a wrongful death suit, it must be shown that the victim’s death was caused by either the negligent behavior of the defendant or with the intent to harm, and that the victim’s survivors suffered some sort of financial setback due to the tragedy.

In general, damages awarded in a wrongful death suit are pecuniary in nature. This includes compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses and loss of support. To calculate pecuniary damages, courts will consider the victim’s age, the victim’s earning capacity and the victim’s health.

Texting while driving is never a safe endeavor. But when a loved one is killed in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, that victim’s family members may bring a wrongful death suit against the driver. Doing so may be one way to help compensate them for their devastating losses.

Source: VV Daily Press, “California teen-driver deaths down,” Shea Johnson, March 03, 2013

© 2017 The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter, Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer. All Rights Reserved.
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