Car Accidents Caused by Teenagers

It takes time to become confident and careful behind the wheel. With the legal driving age just 16 years old – 15 ½ with adult supervision – many drivers are too young and inexperienced to safely control a motor vehicle. If a teenage driver causes your car accident and injuries, his or her parents may be responsible for your damages in Arizona.

Teen Car Accident Statistics in Arizona

Teen drivers cause thousands of auto accidents in the US every year. Traffic safety facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 1,830 drivers ages 15 to 20 died in traffic accidents in 2017. An additional 979 passengers of young drivers and 1,378 occupants of other vehicles lost their lives in fatal accidents involving teen drivers as well. A total of 4,361 car accidents involved young drivers in 2017 in the US. Teen drivers are statistically more likely to be in fatal accidents than adult drivers.

Statistics show that while young drivers made up only 5.4% of the driving population in 2017, they accounted for 8.3% of drivers involved in fatal crashes. There are many reasons for this disparity. Teen drivers are more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors, such as cellphone use while driving or chatting with passengers. They are also more susceptible to peer pressure and reckless actions, such as speeding, racing and drunk driving. Finally, without the experience of older drivers, they often do not know how to quickly and safely react to changing roadway conditions.

Who Is Liable If a Teenager Is Involved in a Car Accident?

If a teen driver causes a car accident in Arizona, his or her parent or legal guardian will typically be vicariously liable for related damages. The rules of vicarious liability apply to most accidents involving a negligent or reckless minor under the age of 18. This rule states that a parent will be responsible for the actions of a teen driver even if the parent had nothing to do with the accident. If you are the victim of a crash involving a teen driver, you will most likely seek financial recovery from the insurance provider of the teen’s parents. A Glendale car accident lawyer can help you with your claim, if necessary.

Permit and GDL License Requirements

In Arizona, a driver has to be at least 15 years and 6 months old to obtain a graduated instruction permit to drive. The driver must submit a written driver’s license application with the required supplemental documents (two forms of identification), as well as pass written and vision tests. If the applicant fulfills all the requirements, he or she may operate a motor vehicle as long as a driver with a valid license who is at least 21 years old is in the passenger seat of the car at all times.

Once a teen with a graduated instruction permit has had at least 30 hours of driving practice – 10 of which must be at night – he or she can apply for a graduated driver’s license. A driver must be at least 16 years old and have had an instruction permit for at least 6 months before applying for a regular license. In the first six months after obtaining a graduated driver’s license, the teen cannot drive between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. without a parent or legal guardian with a driver’s license in the front seat, unless the teen is driving to a school or church activity, job, or family emergency.

A teenager under the age of 18 with a graduated driver’s license cannot legally operate a motor vehicle on a public highway with more than one passenger at a time in Arizona. This rule is in place to help prevent distracted teen driving. Exceptions exist, however, if the passengers are the teen’s siblings or if a parent or guardian is accompanying the driver. A parent or legal guardian must sign a teenager’s application for a graduated driver’s license for the Department of Motor Vehicles to process the form. The signing adult will then become responsible for any misconduct by the teenager while he or she is driving.