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Why are teen driving fatalities still rising?

Despite the fact that vehicles have increasingly more safety features and states are implementing laws to crack down on people who talk on the phone or text while driving, the number of teens killed in car crashes is rising. According to federal regulators, last year saw a 10 percent increase in teen driving fatalities.

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Why are these fatalities increasing? A survey by the Automobile Association of America puts part of the blame on parents who have their own bad driving habits, such as using their phone while behind the wheel and aren't strict about enforcing safe driving habits with their kids.

Another problem is that many kids (about a third) put off getting their driver's license until they're 18. Therefore, they don't have a period of driving under the more restrictive graduated licensing laws for younger teens. These laws, which we have here in Maryland, have been found to reduce the risk of car accidents by up to 30 percent.

So what are the top most dangerous teen driving behaviors? The most common mistake, perhaps surprisingly, is poor visual scanning of the road. Speeding is second. It was a factor in over 4,200 out of almost 14,000 fatal accidents in the past five years. Distracted driving is next.

While plenty of adults are guilty of all of those mistakes, teens are still 1.5 times more likely to die in a crash than adults. Part of that is a result of their inexperience behind the wheel. That can make it harder to recover quickly enough from a driving error to avoid a crash.

In Maryland, as in many states, parents can be held liable for their minor teen driver's negligent operation of a vehicle. If you are injured in a crash with a teen driver, an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney can advise you on your options for seeking compensation to cover your injuries and other damages.

Source: CBS News, "New study outlines teens' worst driving habits as deadly crashes spike," accessed Oct. 13, 2016

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