Car Accidents Caused by Underage Drivers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2017, 2,364 teens were killed, and 300,000 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by car accidents. Car accidents caused by underage drivers are different than other car accident cases and can raise some complications.


Why Do Underage Drivers Cause Accidents?

There are a number of reasons why underage drivers cause so many accidents. They are usually newly licensed and not experienced in how to handle a vehicle and conditions on the roads. The CDC found that crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure. In addition, teens are often unable to control their impulses and take unnecessary risks such as speeding and making unsafe lane changes. Underage drivers are also more likely to be distracted. The presence of other teens in the vehicle increases the crash risk and the risk goes up the more teens are in the vehicle.

Teens often believe they are invincible and are therefore less likely to take safety precautions. Compared with other age groups, teens are significantly less likely to wear seatbelts. In addition, underage drivers are more likely to drive after consuming alcohol. The CDC found that 15% of accidents involved an underage driver with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more.


Parental Liability

If an underage driver causes an accident, can the parents be held liable for any resulting injuries? The answer is maybe. If the parents own the vehicle that the teen is driving, then, under New York law, the parents may be held liable for injuries caused by the teen’s use and operation of the vehicle. New York Vehicle & Traffic Law section 388 holds the owner of a vehicle responsible for death and injuries that result from negligent operation of the vehicle if the person using the vehicle had the permission of the owner. If the teen owned the vehicle in their own name, then the parents may not be liable.


Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by an underage driver, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. The attorneys at Bonina & Bonina, P.C., have been helping New Yorkers injured in car accidents for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.