Thousands of people are killed each year because of drivers who speed, are distracted and blow through red lights. Although fatal crashes have been caused by drivers of all ages, new research suggests young adults pose the greatest risk to motorists in West Palm Beach.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 fatalities occurred in 2015 because of distracted driving. Speeding was the cause of 10,219 fatalities and a contributing factor in 30 percent of all deadly 2012 crashes, according to additional NHTSA research. Meanwhile, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported there were 126,000 people hurt and 709 people killed in 2014 because of motorists who failed to stop at red lights when they were required to do so.
Motorists of all ages could engage in dangerous behaviors. Unfortunately, some groups of drivers are far more likely to take unnecessary risks than others. In particular, motorist ages 19-24 may be the most dangerous on U.S. roads according to a recent study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
While many people think the youngest drivers are the most dangerous, drivers ages 16 to 18 are less likely than many other motorists to engage in high-risk driving behaviors such as speeding, texting and driving, or running red lights.
When the AAA Foundation asked drivers of all age groups about whether they'd engaged in these behaviors, approximately 70 percent of drivers ages 16 to 18 admitted they'd recently done these things while driving. Only seniors were less likely to have been texting, speeding or running red lights. But even among seniors ages 60 to 74, more than 67 percent said they had done these things.
The drivers most likely to speed, text, or run red lights were young adults between the ages of 19 and 24. Many drivers within this age group have had their licenses for long enough, so they appear to become more confident and more willing to engage in risky driving behaviors. However, they may not be aware of how big of a risk they are taking.
Drivers in this 19 to 24 age group are not just slightly more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors either. According to the AAA study, drivers ages 19 to 24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to read a text or an email while driving. They were about twice as likely to type an email or a text compared with all other drivers. Close to half of them said they had run red lights in the past month, while just 36 percent of all drivers admitted to going through a recently-changed traffic signal when it would have been safe for them to stop. And, drivers ages 19 to 24 were also about 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to admit they had driven too fast on a residential road, exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles-per-hour.
When young adult drivers do these types of things, they are making the roads much more dangerous. The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to the high number of fatalities caused by drivers who go too fast, who don't pay attention when driving, who fail to respect the road rules, and who fail to stop at traffic lights. Young adult motorists need to understand how risky these behaviors are, so they don't put others at risk.
Drivers who break the law or fail to use reasonable care behind the wheel may be found negligent in civil court. Although Florida is a no-fault system when it comes to auto accident liability, those who suffer more than $10,000 in damages can step outside the personal injury protection (PIP) system and assert a claim for additional damages against the negligent driver.