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Are Teenage Drivers More at Risk for Car Accidents?

 Posted on November 23, 2020 in Car Accidents

Cook County car accident attorney for collisions with teen driversObtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage when individuals turn 16. With it comes a certain responsibility, and teenage drivers are subject to specific restrictions as young motorists. Some of these rules are put in place to prevent car accidents caused by inexperienced drivers. Despite the laws, there are various reasons that crashes can occur, including distracted or drunk driving, inclement weather conditions, and defective or faulty auto parts. Depending on the circumstances, injuries can be minor to serious or even fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), approximately 2 million drivers suffer a permanent injury every year from car accidents. 

Illinois’ Graduated License Program

The requirements for obtaining a driver’s license in Illinois are regulated by the Secretary of State (SOS). Like most states, Illinois has implemented a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program for first-time teenage drivers. The program increases driving privileges and levels of responsibility for teen motorists after they reach certain ages and complete the designated levels of education and practice.

In Illinois, the process involves obtaining a learner’s permit, completing a driver’s education course, getting a restricted or provisional license, and ultimately graduating to a full, unrestricted Illinois driver’s license. Before receiving a standard license, a teen driver must complete the following:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction

  • 6 hours of in-car driving practice with an instructor

  • 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice with a licensed driver who is 21 or older

  • 10 hours of nighttime driving

Even after receiving their driver’s license, minors must follow restrictions such as not driving after certain times at night and only having one passenger who is not a relative under the age of 20 in the vehicle at all times. In addition, teens must not be issued a traffic ticket for six months prior to turning 18 years old, and they may not use a mobile phone at any time while operating their vehicle, unless for emergency purposes. Texting and driving is illegal for any driver, regardless of age. 

Behind the Wheel 

Once new drivers are officially licensed, they are most likely anxious to start driving on their own. However, despite the rules for new drivers, several factors behind the wheel can still lead to car accidents. For example, a new teen driver may be so excited to drive a friend around that he or she does not pay close enough attention to the road or the traffic laws. A few of the most common reasons that crashes occur among teen drivers include:

  • Distracted driving 

  • Speeding

  • Failure to yield

  • Illegal turns

  • Traveling the wrong way on a one-way street

Distractions can involve talking to a passenger, looking at a phone, eating, fixing hair, adjusting the radio or navigation system. Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off of the road increases the likelihood of a collision, since it greatly reduces a motorist’s reaction time. 

Contact a Hyde Park Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were involved in a vehicle collision, it may be the result of negligence, such as driver error. In some instances, a crash may be caused by a new teen driver. At Kadzai Law Group, LLC, we have more than a decade of experience advocating for personal injury victims. Our diligent Chicago car accident attorney will thoroughly examine the circumstances of your case to establish liability for your damages and injuries. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 312-229-0050. 


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