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Facing the Crisis: Oregon’s Major Increase in Young Driver Fatalities

There is a higher risk of car accidents among young drivers compared to other age groups. Negligent driving can easily lead to a crash that leaves drivers, passengers, and pedestrians seriously hurt. And the risk of a fatal crash among teen drivers ages 16 to 19 is nearly three times higher than among drivers ages 20 or older.

Young woman driving

Fatal crashes involving young drivers are a problem in Oregon. In fact, according to an analysis of federal traffic data, the problem is getting much worse.

ValuePenguin analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reports System (FARS) for all states. It found that from 2010 to 2019, the annual number of fatal crashes involving a young driver rose by 58%. That’s the largest increase in the nation during that time period.

Examining risk factors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified certain factors that put teens at risk. These factors include:

  • Inexperience – Because teens have spent much less time on the road, they are more likely to fail to recognize dangerous situations or misjudge them. They are also more likely to make decision errors.
  • Nighttime and Weekend Driving – Statistically, driving during these time periods has been particularly dangerous for teen drivers.
  • Failing to Use Seat Belts – Teens and young adults have lower seat belt use rates than older drivers.
  • Distracted Driving – For example, the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students who drove, 39% texted or emailed while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.
  • Alcohol Use – The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 5.4% of high school students who drive got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol at least once in the previous 30 days. And 16.9% said they rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol at least once during the previous 30 days.
  • Drug Use – In the 2017 survey, 13% of high school students said they drove after using marijuana.

Oregon puts restrictions on young drivers. For example, it is against the law to drive while using any type of mobile device. After drivers turn 18, they are not allowed to have passengers under 20 for the first 6 months, aside from immediate family. They are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help

Fatal crashes can leave family members emotionally devastated and searching for answers. There is also a financial impact, as families may be responsible for final medical expenses and funeral costs.

When a loved one dies in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the victim’s family deserves financial compensation. Depending on the situation, this may include compensation for damages such as medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, burial expenses, lost future income, and pain and suffering.

If you lost a loved one in a Portland crash, Zbinden & Curtis wants to help. Our car accident attorneys understand the impact a fatal collision can have on families. That’s why we build strong cases and fight to recover maximum compensation.

Learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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