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Distracted Driving and Teen Crashes in Kentucky

distracted driving in Kentucky

The problem of distracted driving among teenagers is much bigger than previously thought. According to research using teenage accident videos, distraction was a contributory element in almost 60 percent of teen crashes (including 76 percent rear-end collisions and 89 percent road-departure accidents).

Interacting with passengers (15 percent) and using mobile phones (12 percent) are the most common types of distraction leading to an accident by a teenage motorist. Previous research shows that teen motorists using a mobile phone took their focus off the road in the seconds leading up to the collision. In addition, they failed to react over 50 percent of the time before a rear-end crash.

In a follow-up report, it was found that while the leading distractions remained unchanged from 2007 to 2015, there is a disturbing trend in how teenagers use their cell phones when operating a vehicle.

In the critical moments leading up to a collision, teenagers were more likely to be peering down at their screen or operating their mobile phones rather than listening or speaking on the phone. According to the study, there is a rise in rear-end collisions, as well as the average time a motorist’s eyes are not on the road.

Driver Distraction Laws in Kentucky

Being distracted when behind the wheel could leave you liable for an accident in which others could be injured, or even killed. You could, at the least, end up with a traffic ticket.

Kentucky law prohibits any driver under the age of 18 years with an intermediate license or learner’s permit to use any form of wireless communication when operating a vehicle, including hands-free and handheld phones and text messaging gadgets. If you receive a ticket, the possible consequences may include the following:

  • Fines
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Lawyer’s fees
  • Increases in insurance rates
  • Court costs

Kentucky law does not encompass only teenage drivers. In fact, the state has similar laws for adults, who are prohibited from texting and driving.

However, a driver faces additional distractions, besides electronic devices. The passengers in the vehicle can prove to be distracting as well. For this reason, the graduated driver licensing system in Kentucky does not allow intermediate license holders to drive with more than one passenger below the age of 20 years in the vehicle.

Suggestions for Safe Driving

  • Apart from mobile phones and other wireless devices, distractions such as talking to a passenger, eating, drinking, personal grooming, reading a map, looking at objects or people unrelated to the driving task at hand, and reaching for objects could also cause a collision.
  • Get information from your driving instructor, parents, or other responsible motorists on how they remain focused on driving.
  • Assist other drivers in avoiding distractions by being an ideal passenger. Speak up if you are riding with friends who are speeding, texting, or otherwise behaving in an irresponsible manner. Ask your friends to drive safely, offer to help them with the phone, or, if they refuse to alter their risky behavior, ask them to drop you off.

Pursuing a Compensation Claim

It is mandatory for teenage motorists to be insured. If you have sustained harm due to a teen driver’s actions, you can pursue compensation via auto liability insurance, which may be in the young driver’s or their parent’s name. This compensation may include funds for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, among other damages.

Other parties may also be held responsible if the teen consumed alcohol before the accident. In Kentucky, an establishment that sells alcohol to an underage patron who later gets involved in a car crash is held accountable. Such “third parties” can be held responsible for your losses in a wreck and may be required to provide you compensation through their business liability insurance.

How a Lawyer should Investigate Teen Car Accidents

In Kentucky, a seasoned car wreck attorney will ensure that you receive fair compensation following a crash caused by a teen motorist. This investigation would comprise collecting evidence to establish who should be held responsible for the damages. The evidence may include the following:

  • Guilty pleas or judgments
  • Police reports
  • Credit or debit card records
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Accident scene evidence
  • Mobile phone records
  • Social media posts

After the legal team has developed a case based on robust evidence, the lawyer would be able to negotiate from a stronger position to obtain a fair compensation amount from the insurer (or insurers) representing the liable driver.

Death Rates are Higher for Teenage Car Accidents

Research by the AAA indicates that when a teenage driver has a teen passenger in the car, the fatalities rate significantly increases.

The state of Kentucky has one of the highest teenage accident rates in the US, according to a study by the AAA. There were 66 deaths in accidents involving a teenage driver in 2016 in KY. One-third of those fatalities were the teenage motorists themselves, and 36 percent were occupants of other cars. 

Speak to a Skilled Teen Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have sustained serious injuries or lost someone you loved due to a distracted driver, you deserve fair compensation for the emotional, physical, and monetary damages you suffered. The experienced car accident lawyers at the law offices of Ron Aslam have the knowledge, skills, and resources to help you build a solid damages claim. For more information or to set-up a free, no-obligation consultation, call today at (502) 581-1676.