A seven-vehicle accident on Florida's turnpike recently caused the death of two young motorists, according to Daily Progress. The two victims included a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man who were in the car together when the collision occurred just northwest of Orlando. The crash is still in the early stages of the investigation, so authorities have yet to release further details about the suspected cause of the crash.
What we do know is that young drivers ages 19-24 are especially likely to be injured or killed in auto accidents. Although the cause of this particular accident has not yet been identified, many fatal crashes involving younger drivers occur because this age group is especially prone to engaging in dangerous behavior behind the wheel. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently reported troubling findings showing just how common - and accepted - high-risk behaviors are among drivers between the ages of 19 and 24.
Drivers Ages 19 to 24 Engage in Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Brand-new drivers often get a bad reputation for causing accidents by being unsafe behind the wheel. It is true that these drivers are higher risk than other drivers overall. However, it is not this youngest group that is most likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Instead, it is drivers ages 19 to 24 who admit to high-risk actions behind the wheel at high rates.
According to AAA Foundation's research, almost 70 percent of 16-to 18-year-olds admitted they had done something dangerous behind the wheel recently, such as texting while driving, speeding or breezing through a light which had recently turned red even though it would have been safe for them to stop for the light. This seems like a high percentage, but consider that it's only slightly higher than what seniors reported. Approximately 67 percent of drivers ages 60 to 74 did things like running a red light, speeding or texting.
Young adult drivers ages 19 to 24, by comparison, were far more likely to admit to pushing their luck behind the wheel. A total of 88.4 percent of drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 said they'd done things including text, speed and run traffic signals - all of which put them at greater risk of involvement in automobile accidents.
These young adult drivers are doing dangerous things at far greater rates than others. They're twice as likely as all other drivers to type up and send communications like texts and emails even as they are behind the wheel and should be paying attention to driving. They're 1.6 times as likely to read emails and texts, which isn't quite as dangerous as sending them but which still takes the focus off the road for a long time. They're 1.4 times as likely to speed in residential neighborhoods, going 10 mph or more over posted limits, and they're much more likely to run red lights.
Young drivers aren't just doing these things because they think they're invincible and won't be the ones to get in accidents. Many young motorists don't find these driving behaviors as unsafe as other motorists do. While only six percent of drivers said they thought it was safe to go through a light which had recently changed to red, for example, 14 percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 thought this was safe.
Young drivers need to realize the reality of high-risk driving behaviors and stop engaging in activities behind the wheel which are likely to cause accidents. Failure to do so is a form of negligence, and can be grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.