Authorities in Arkansas and around the country have tried for decades to make the roads a safer place for younger drivers. Car accidents are the leading cause of teenager deaths, and this has often been blamed on inexperience behind the wheel made more dangerous by the natural confidence of youth. The issue has been approached with a combination of public awareness campaigns and strict law enforcement, but accident data indicates that these efforts are failing to have a meaningful impact in two key areas. Drunk driving accidents involving teens remain a problem, and the number of distracted driving accidents involving younger drivers is on the rise as well.
Individuals below the legal drinking age of 21 only account for about 10 percent of America’s licensed drivers, but they are the cause of approximately 17 percent of the nation’s fatal alcohol-related car crashes. Drunk driving crashes claim the lives of 2,000 teens each year, and young drivers will face a DUI charge in most states when even trace amounts of alcohol are discovered during toxicology testing. The legal limit in Arkansas for drivers under the age of 21 is .02 percent.
The widespread use of cellphones behind the wheel kills even more young people each year than drunk driving, and texting while driving is now the leading cause of death for American teenagers. Sending or reading a text while driving has been shown to make an accident 23 times more likely, and drivers glancing at a cellphone screen for two seconds while traveling at highway speeds will cover a distance as long as a football field.
Those who suffer injury, loss or damage due to the reckless actions of an inexperienced driver may pursue civil remedies. When a younger driver with limited resources at their disposal is the defendant in a car accident lawsuit, a personal injury attorney may file a claim against their insurance company. An attorney could also file a lawsuit against the parents of a negligent teen driver in certain situations.