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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Teenage Drivers & Safety Concerns

By the time they enter high school, most teenagers cannot wait to take their driver’s test and taste the freedom that comes with having a driver’s license. Driving to and from school, taking friends to parties, and going to the mall on the weekends all become a reality now—without the need for a ride from Mom or Dad. However, inexperienced teenage drivers are to blame for a large portion of motor vehicle accidents in the United States every year. Many teenagers think they are invincible and engage in risky behaviors like speeding and texting while driving. In fact, 15- to 24-year-olds are just 14 percent of the population—but they incur close to one-third of all costs related to car accident injuries.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers aged 16 to 19. This group of teens also has the highest risk of crashes. Roughly 220 teenagers are killed in car accidents every month—that’s close to 3,000 every year. Parents in New York, however, should breathe a sigh of relief—one report shows that the state’s teens rank at number 4 for safe driving.

A teenager’s driving skills are learned from parents and caretakers. If a teenager sees a parent texting while driving, the teen will think it is okay. If a parent has a couple of beers and drives the family home, the teenager will think it’s safe to have a couple of drinks and drive. Therefore, it is essential that parents take the time to explain safe driving to their teenagers—and more importantly, to model these behaviors as well.

Though parents do everything they can to keep their teenagers safe, ultimately, it is the teenager’s decisions that come into play while behind the wheel. Teenagers, like all other drivers, must be held accountable if they drive recklessly and cause serious injuries to others. At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our injury attorneys are experienced in accident claims and make sure that our clients’ legal interests are protected.

Vicarious Liability for Teenage Drivers

In New York, a teenager’s parents may be held accountable for the damages an auto accident has caused a victim. New York, along with numerous other states, allows vicarious liability in these incidents because teenagers are essentially judgment-proof—they do not have substantial income or assets to cover a judgment that is entered against them. Specifically, the law provides that the owner of a vehicle may be held liable for injuries caused by a driver operating that vehicle. If the parents were aware that the teenager engaged in risky driving behaviors, it will be especially difficult to avoid liability.

Injured in a Car Accident in Long Island?

 If you or your teenage driver has been involved in a car accident in Long Island or elsewhere in New York, and you would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced accident attorney, contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to schedule your no cost/no obligation consultation. Our law firm has years of experience negotiating favorable car accident settlements for our clients and we would like to do the same for you. Call us today at today at 516-358-6900.

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