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Making the roads safer for teen drivers

Driving in Louisiana can be hazardous at the best of times, but the roads can be particularly dangerous for young and inexperienced motorists. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, and the numbers look likely to rise in the coming years as texting behind the wheel is becoming a serious problem among younger drivers. Public awareness campaigns have been effective at reducing drunk driving, but they seem unable to convince motorists of the dangers associated with using electronic devices while driving.

Texting while driving is always risky behavior, but it can be fatal at highway speeds. A vehicle traveling at 55 mph will cover the length of a football field in just a few seconds, and reading a text message often takes far longer than that. The problem now claims the lives of 3,000 teenagers each year, and increasing the penalties for distracted driving have done little to help.

Drinking and driving is another risky behavior common among teen drivers. While those under the age of 21 only make up about 10 percent of licensed drivers in the United States, they account for 17 percent of the intoxicated motorists who die each year on the nations roads. Media campaigns and zero tolerance laws have had a limited impact, but alcohol-related auto accidents still claim the lives of approximately 2,000 young drivers each year.

Drivers who behave recklessly and cause injury, loss or damage to other road users may face both civil sanctions and criminal penalties. The injuries caused by distracted or intoxicated drivers are often severe, and a lawsuit filed by a personal injury attorney on behalf of accident victims may seek compensation for their lost wages in addition to their medical bills and property damage.

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