Nearly all states across the US use a graduated driver’s license system which prevents young drivers from being on the road alone at night in their first year of having a license. Recent studies have shown, however, that existing laws are insufficient to protect teen drivers from injuries incurred when on the road late at night.
According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a third of all fatal auto accidents involving drivers between age 16 and 17 occur between 9:00pm and 5:59am. Within that percentage, 57% of those accidents occurred prior to 12:00 am. Despite the fact that most accidents occur earlier, most states have a curfew that begins at midnight and runs into the morning. While 31% of all teen driver fatalities occurred between the hours of 9:00 pm and 5:59 am, only 11% of the trips teens took occurred between those hours, meaning that a disproportionate number of these late night trips resulted in a fatality.
In the state of Alabama, drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 who have a graduated license are not permitted to drive between midnight and 6:00 am, unless they are traveling for a school or work event, a religious event, to hunting or fishing activities for which they have an active permit, or are with a parent or licensed adult over 21 who has their parents’ consent. This late curfew, coupled with the abundant exceptions, result in a law that fails to meet the CDC’s recommendations regarding restrictions on new drivers.
Car accidents remain the number one way that teenagers are killed. Even though teen drivers constitute only 8% of drivers on the road, they are involved in 20% of all accidents. While teen fatalities in car accidents have decreased over the past 20 years, it remains true that teen drivers are twice as likely to receive fatal injuries in a car accident than are adult drivers.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident with a negligent or reckless driver in Alabama, seek the damages to which you’re entitled for your injuries, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, by contacting the compassionate and knowledgeable Montgomery personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation, at 334-262-1911.