Media outlets have been abuzz recently with a steady stream of reports about the dangers of concussions among child athletes, but a recent study suggests that teens may face a greater risk of serious brain injury on the road than on the athletic field.
In a study conducted by State Farm Insurance and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researchers found that 30 percent of teenagers seriously injured in car accidents in 2009 and 2010 suffered major head trauma resulting in skull fractures, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Since full recovery after a brain injury is not always possible, these injuries often have devastating, lifelong consequences for the injured teens and their families.
With Treatment Options Limited, Prevention Is Key
The good news is that prevention can go a long way in protecting teenagers from the risks of crash-related brain injuries and fatalities. Perhaps not surprisingly, seatbelt use is a major factor; two-thirds of teens killed in car accidents are not buckled in, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Less obvious, however, is the impact that graduated driver’s licensing laws can have on reducing teen injuries and deaths on the road. In fact, the authors of the brain injury study found that states with the most comprehensive graduated licensing laws — including Arizona — have the lowest rates in the country for teen brain injuries and fatalities.
Arizona Graduated Driver’s License Law
Under Arizona’s graduated driver’s license law, teen drivers must complete a total of 30 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving practice, including 20 daytime and 10 nighttime hours, before qualifying for a graduated driver’s license. In addition, a teen driver who has had a graduated license for less than six months is generally prohibited from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian. Finally, except when accompanied by a parent, a teen driver with a graduated license may not transport more than one passenger under the age of 18 unless the passengers are siblings of the driver.
If your child has been injured in car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries and expenses arising from the crash. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.