Distracted Teen Drivers Create Danger on Michigan’s Roads

Technology grows exponentially more engaging and distracting every day. Today's teenagers have computers, MP3 players, the Internet and cellphones to keep them entertained. Unfortunately, when teenaged drivers make use of electronic devices while they're driving, the results can be disastrous.

Of course, teenager drivers have age-old distractions, too: friends, food and dates to contend with as they attempt to safely navigate the streets. On top of all that is the vehicle itself, often equipped with a GPS system, and a dashboard full of information about speed, fuel, distance and the temperature, as well as controls for heating and cooling, windows, mirrors, locks and more.

Add it up and even skilled, veteran drivers can find themselves distracted from traffic conditions. For inexperienced teens, the distractions can make the difference between safety and a crash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash."

Teenage Risks

Simply put, teenagers are more likely to engage in risky driving behavior than older drivers:

  • Nearly nine out of 10 teen drivers have engaged in distracted driving behaviors (texting or talking on a cellphone while driving).
  • According to research, teenagers are more likely to speed and to tailgate.
  • The risk of alcohol use among teen drivers is higher than in any other age group: 25 percent of teenage driver fatalities had alcohol in their systems.
  • Nearly three out of four teenage drivers killed in drinking-related car accidents in 2008 were not wearing seatbelts.

Earlier this year, Michigan enacted a texting ban for all drivers. In fact, all cellphone use is banned here, unless the device is hands-free.

Graduated Driver License Levels

Michigan's graduated driver's license (GDL) system has three levels for teenagers and others:

  • Level 1: Must be at least 14 years, 9 months old and successfully complete a Level 1 driver's education course
  • Level 2: Must be at least 16 years old, and have no convictions, license suspensions, tickets or crashes in the 90 days prior to applying for the license
  • Level 3: Must be at 17 years old, without moving violations, a traffic accident, or license suspension while a Level 2 driver

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a crash involving a distracted teenage driver, contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer for an assessment of the facts. A personal injury attorney helps accident injury victims recover for medical bills, property damage and pain and suffering.