We hear a great deal about the high percentage of driving-age teenagers who are injured or killed in traffic accidents. This is not unusual since it is a statistical fact that teens are more prone to becoming involved in roadway collisions. And with a higher percentage of traffic accidents usually comes a commensurate increase in the percentage of injuries and fatal crashes.
Safety experts are quick to warn parents and teachers that highway wrecks are the chief cause of death among teenagers; this is backed up by national statistics that show automobile crashes account for one-third of all teen deaths. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has published figures that indicate upward of eight driving-age teenagers (those between 16 and 19 years old) die every day across the U.S. This is not a pleasant statistic be any means.
When it comes to injuries, this young group of drivers is subject on an annual basis to around 800,000 injuries as a result of car, truck and motorcycle accidents. As we have mentioned in the past, part of this group’s predilection for accidents is most likely due to their collective inexperience when compared to older, more mature motorists. Consider that drivers 16 to 19 years of age are up to four times more likely to get into a car accident than those more seasoned drivers.
When looking for reasons why teenage drivers exhibit a greater risk of injury or death, one can simply refer to the CDC’s list of contributing factors vis-à-vis young motorists. These include:
— A greater likelihood of tailgating or following other vehicles too closely
— Greater tendency to speed when compared to their older counterparts
— Less experience in identifying dangerous traffic situations
— Lax use of safety belts
— Greater chance of drinking and driving or riding with someone who is drunk
— Greater susceptibility to being distracted by other occupants in the vehicle
— Tendency to drive smaller vehicles, which afford less protection
As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we look at that last item and, combining it with several others, we can easily deduce that a teenage motorcycle rider may have a greater chance of being involved in an accident with a passenger car or commercial truck than an older rider. And, since motorcycles provide next to no protection in a roadway collision, the odds of a teenage rider being hurt or killed rises precipitously in the traffic accident statistics.
This may be the case in one crash that we read about late last summer. In that news article, police speculated that excessive speed and rider error may have been contributing factors to the death of a young Dunkirk man. According to the news report, the single-vehicle crash happened on a Saturday morning in August as the 19-year-old motorcyclist was heading southbound in the left-hand lane of Rte 4 in Anne Arundel County.
Based on police statements, it appears that the bike left the roadway, onto the shoulder and then into the grassy median before flipping over. Officers arriving at the site of the single-bike accident noted that the black Kawasaki sport bike had slid an additional 250 feet before coming to rest; the rider was found not far from the machine and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Teen killed in motorcycle accident, SoMdNews.com, August 1, 2012