Law Office of P. Zachary Stewart

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Motor vehicle accidents: New drivers with teenage passengers

Although there are always crash risks on the West Virginia highways, the added traffic volumes during the holidays and the fewer daylight hours in the winter make driving more dangerous. The chances of motor vehicle accidents are even higher for teenage drivers who lack the experience to deal with emergencies. Furthermore, the risks are exacerbated if teen drivers have passengers with them.

Safety authorities say research indicates that the crash risk for a teen driver increases by more than 40 percent with even only one teenage passenger in the vehicle. For this reason, restrictions exist for teenage drivers when it comes to passengers. There is typically a period during which only one family member over a certain age is allowed. After the initial period, one non-family member will be allowed in the vehicle with a teen driver, and they must all wear seat belts.

Parents are role models, and they play essential roles in educating young drivers and help them to understand the importance of these restrictions. It might be a good idea also to remind teens that not only the driver will be at risk but also the passengers. They should avoid the temptation to get in the car with inexperienced drivers.

Teenage drivers must also be aware of the consequences of motor vehicle accidents in which they are deemed the negligent parties. Any injured victims of such an accident, even if they are friends who were passengers in the car, can hold a negligent driver responsible for financial and emotional damages. They can use the services of an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney to navigate a civil lawsuit.


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