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Distracted driving may cause many teen car accidents

Teenagers in California and around the country may run a higher risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident than other age groups, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In 2015, traffic fatalities across all groups had the highest year-over-year percentage leap in 50 years, and the number of deaths increased for the first time since 2007. The upward trend is expected to continue in 2016 based on preliminary figures for the first six months of the year.

Vehicle safety has improved with technology such as anti-lock braking systems and electronic stability control. Furthermore, more seat belt compliance and awareness about driving under the influence is believed to have played a part in the drop in fatalities through 2014. However, safety advocates believe that distracted driving is one of the major causes of motor vehicle fatalities. Although the NHTSA found distracted driving responsible for 8.8 percent of all fatalities, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that distracted driving may be a factor in up to 50 percent of serious motor vehicle accidents involving teens.

Parents can help combat this by modeling safe driving behavior for their teenage children. They can put away their cellphones and encourage their children to speak up when a driver is driving dangerously or letting themselves be distracted.

Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injuries to people who are involved, and victims may need extensive medical care and treatment. If it can be demonstrated that the accident was caused by a negligent driver, an attorney could assist in seeking compensation for their losses. If the at-fault motorist was a teen driving his or her parents' car, the parents themselves might be held financially responsible under the family car doctrine.

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