New website aims to help teens avoid Chicago car accidents as Teen Safe Driver Week begins

Our Chicago car accident lawyers urge parents to speak to their teens about the dangers of distracted driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week this week, Oct. 17 to 24.

As we reported recently on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, parents can have a dramatic impact on a teenager’s safety behind the wheel. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Teenagers are at high risk of virtually every poor driving decision imaginable, including drunk driving, speeding, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, poor night driving and riding with too many young passengers in the car.The Chicago Breaking News Center reports that AAA and the Illinois Department of Transportation is launching a new website aimed at teenage drivers,

The Chicago Tribune reports that Allstate Insurance, Verizon Wireless, BMW and Liberty Mutual Insurance are among the organizations designing and implementing safety programs aimed at teaching teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Authorities cite tougher laws and better driver training for a 50 percent reduction in teen driving fatalities, form 146 in 2007 to 71 last year. But there is still much work to be done. A separate study we reported on recently found that teens largely understand the risks of distracted driving, they just ignore them. As a parent, we urge you to speak to your teen driver early and often about the need to stay safe behind the wheel.

The dangers are real; the statistics don’t lie:

-In 2008, about 20 percent of all crashes involved some form of driver distraction.

-More than 5,000 people a year are killed in distracted driving car accidents; about 450,000 are injured.

-Drivers under the age of 20 are most at-risk for being involved in a serious or fatal accident caused by distracted driving. Drivers ages 20 to 29 are the group with the next-highest risk.

-Those using hand-held devices while driving are four times more likely to get into a serious accident.

-Drivers using a cell phone — whether hand-held or hands-free — impair their reactions as much as someone driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08, the legal limit for drunk driving in the United States.

A report by Allstate Insurance found that texting is a teen’s greatest distraction behind the wheel. More than 4 in 5 teens admitted to using a cell phone while driving — fewer than 1 in 4 admitted to drinking and driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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