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Fatal car accidents and teen drivers

In a just a few weeks, school-aged children will be out for winter break. This is a great time for family and friends to be together during the holiday season. This may also be the time when teen drivers are out in greater numbers. These inexperienced drivers can sometimes pose a threat to themselves and other drivers on the road.

In general, the number of driving fatalities at the hands of individuals aged 15 to 19 has dropped over the past few years. In fact, there has been a decline of over 60 percent among this age group over the past decade. However, this class of drivers is still disproportionately represented in the statistics on driving fatalities. Studies have shown that these drivers tend to engage in more high-risk behaviors. Driving at night, driving after consuming alcohol, and distracted driving are all common behaviors that can lead to fatal car accidents.

To combat these risky behaviors, Mississippi and other states have enacted graduated driver licensing or GDL. The GDL laws are designed to give young drivers more time to develop their driving skills. GDL laws have three components: learner's permit, intermediate license, and full license.

The learner's permit has a minimum age and duration. Teen drivers are required to drive while supervised by another licensed driver. The intermediate license level has a nighttime driving restriction. It also limits the number of passengers that can be in the car with a teenager. Once a teen has successfully completed the other two stages, he or she is eligible for a full license.

Despite these efforts to ensure safe driving, far too many individuals are still harmed in accidents caused by negligent teen drivers. When this happens, the victim may want to discuss the matter with an attorney to see if there is a course for legal action and, perhaps, the recovery of compensation

Source: Safe Car, "Graduated Driver Licensing Laws," accessed on Dec. 7, 2015

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