Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued a report that revealed that although the majority of teen driving happens in the daytime, the majority of fatal crashes affecting teens happen at night.
A closer look at night time crashes reveals that over half of them happen before midnight. Twenty-three states, plus the District of Columbia have restrictions on teens driving unsupervised at night, but these restrictions don’t begin until at least midnight or later. This is leading to a call to restrict more night driving for teens during the hours before midnight.
A CDC representative, and others, have suggested that the teen fatality rate may see a decrease if the night driving restriction were to begin at 9 or 10 pm.
A Case For Earlier Restrictions
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety doesn’t believe that is early enough. Instead, it suggests that the curfew be set at 8 p.m. They back up their suggestion by noting that states with Graduated Driver Licensing, which places restrictions on new drivers, have cut their teen traffic fatality rates in half. For these teens, driving privileges during restricted hours reverts back to what they were during the time when they had their learner’s permit, during which time a parent or other adult needs to be in the car.
A Parent’s Law
For many teens, whether they follow night time driving restrictions depends less on what the law states, and more on restrictions that are set by their parents. Some parents may have spent enough time driving with their teen at night that they feel comfortable with them driving alone a little later at night. They might also not want to hinder their teen’s ability to work at a part time job, which may help pay for the increased cost of auto insurance. Some might allow night time driving privileges as transportation to work, but not to spend time pursuing recreational activities. It is up to each parent of a teen driver to discuss this with their teen, and remind them of the increased challenges that come with driving in the dark. It’s also a good time to issue additional reminders about distracted driving or driving under the influence, which can turn tragic for many.
If your teen has been in an accident, or if you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a teen driver, there may be additional considerations as you pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. A qualified attorney can help you review the specific circumstances of your case, and will help you decide the best way to proceed.