Although car accidents can happen to anyone, some factors influence who is more likely to get in a car accident. The following list identifies some of the drivers who are most at risk of an accident:
- Teenagers. Teen drivers are among the most likely to get into an auto accident. Statistics show that, per mile driven, teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely than drivers over the age of 20 to be in a fatal auto accident. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in this country. In 2010, motor vehicle accidents were responsible for 7 teen deaths every day. In 2012, 71 teens died in Illinois auto accidents. Teenagers are also more likely to engage in dangerous driving behavior, such as speeding. The percentage of young drivers in speeding-related crashes is greater than in any other age group, with 11 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 reporting at least one speeding-related crash in the past five years, compared to 4 percent for the population as a whole.
- Drunk drivers. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Drunk driving slows reaction time, alters vision, decreases concentration, and reduces coordination.
- Distracted drivers. Those who talk on a cell phone or text are at a much higher risk of being involved in an auto accident, with drivers who text while driving 23 times more likely to get into an auto accident than other motorists. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving 55 mph for the entire length of a football field, blind.
- Speeders. Speeding accounts of one-third of all fatal auto accidents in this country, taking close to 10,000 lives each year. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly half of drivers surveyed say speeding is a problem on America’s roadways, with one in five drivers surveyed admitting that they “try to get where [they are] going as fast as [they] can.”
- Tired drivers. Driving while drowsy, tired, or fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the mental impairment of being awake for 18 hours is similar to that of having a BAC of 0.05%; after being awake for 24 hours, the impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10% – higher than the legal limit in all states. Specifically, sleepiness or fatigue can cause impaired reaction time, judgment, and vision; problems with information processing and short-term memory; decreased driving performance; and aggressive driving behaviors.
- New parents. A 2013 study found that 10 percent of new mothers have had an accident with a baby in the car – an amount that is about three times the average for all drivers. The study also found that two-thirds of new parents find it difficult to concentrate on a single task since having kids; 78% of moms talk on the phone and 26% email or text while driving with a baby in the car; and most new moms drive on less sleep than truck drivers (an average of 5 hours and 20 minutes for new moms versus 6 hours and 50 minutes for truck drivers).
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Ankin Law are committed to keeping motorists safe on Illinois roadways and holding negligent drivers responsible for the accidents that they cause. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a car accident, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident lawyers.