A traffic accident in California recently took the lives of three people in their 20's and led to the hospitalization of a fourth young person, according to KTLA 5. The young adults were in the car on the way to celebrate the birthday of one of the passengers when the roll-over accident happened. The car was traveling in a westbound direction when the driver lost control and the vehicle went off the road. Authorities say excessive speed was a contributing cause of the accident.
Unfortunately, this scenario is far too common. Speed is a factor in many car accidents involving young millennials. Research has shown that drivers within the ages of 19 to 24 are actually the most likely of all drivers to speed and engage in other high-risk behaviors behind the wheel. The risk these drivers pose is not only to themselves, but to their passengers and all others with whom they share the road.
In so doing, these drivers are breaching their legal duty to operate a motor vehicle with reasonable care. Therefore, they or their auto insurance carrier may be liable to cover the cost of any injuries or resulting damage.
Speeding is deadly, yet very common among young motorists. A recent study conducted by AAA Traffic Safety Foundation found young people ages 19 to 24 were more likely than other drivers to think speeding was acceptable. This same survey revealed young drivers were more apt to engage in excessive speeding.
The AAA Foundation asked motorists if they had traveled over 10 mph or more over the speed limit in the past month. Responses of drivers in that 19-to-24 range revealed they were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to have exceeded the speed limit by at least this much. Young drivers were more likely to speed because they were less likely to recognize the risks of going too fast. While only five percent of all drivers found it to be a safe and acceptable driving practice to go more than 10 MPH over a residential speed, almost 12 percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 found this practice to be fine.
Speeding is not fine. It was the contributing cause of 30 percent of all deadly accidents in 2012 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, it caused more than 10,200 deaths in a single recent year. Speeding both increases the odds an accident will happen in the first place and raises the chances the collision will be deadly. A speeding driver faces a far greater likelihood of not being able to properly control the car, thus increasing the chances of a roll-over crash or a car going off the road. When a high-speed accident happens, the force of the crash is greater and the collision impact is much more likely to have serious consequences.
It's not just speeding causing a big traffic accident risk to young drivers either. Young drivers ages 19 to 24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to have read emails or texts while operating a vehicle. They were also about twice as likely to have sent texts or emails they typed while driving. They were also more likely to run red lights, with 36 percent of all drivers saying they'd done this and half of all motorists ages 19 to 24 admitting to traveling through a recently-changed traffic signal when stopping was possible.
Young adult drivers need to stop these dangerous behaviors, or tragic car accidents like the recent collision will continue occurring, taking young lives and leaving devastated families behind.