The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) says that accidents in the state involving teenagers are up significantly this year, according to the Suncoast News. The increase is a reminder of the dangers of teen driving, with driver-safety experts noting that teenagers are at a higher risk than other motorists of being killed in a traffic accident. One of the biggest contributing factors in teenage accidents is distracted driving, which the FHP notes include not just cellphone use, but eating, talking to fellow passengers, and other behaviors.

Teenage crash risk

The FHP says that across the state, motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers are up 10 percent so far in 2015, compared to the same time last year. Figures from Pasco County give a glimpse into some of the causes of teenager-involved accidents in Florida. Last year, drivers aged 15 to 19 in Pasco County were involved in 124 accidents caused by aggressive driving, 111 involving distracted driving, and 20 involving drugs or alcohol.

As WUSA9 News reports, motor vehicle accidents are a threat to teenagers across the country. For example, over 2,500 people aged between 13 and 19 died in car accidents in the United States in 2013 and the leading cause of death for teenagers is auto accidents.

Distracted driving risk

Distracted driving is an especially serious risk among young drivers. Studies by the AAA Foundation, for example, show that although many teenagers are intellectually aware of the dangers of distracted driving; many of them engage in distracted driving behaviors regardless. One survey found that 74 percent of drivers aged 16 to 18 consider it unacceptable to drive while texting or emailing, but 33 percent of such drivers nonetheless say they have done so in the past month. Furthermore, half of the respondents say they have read a text or email while driving in the last month.

The risk is not limited to text messages and emails. Distractions caused by fellow passengers are also a significant factor in accidents involving teenagers. Other distractions, including eating and changing the radio station, can also be problematic, especially for inexperienced drivers. The FHP and driver-safety experts say that parents play a critical role in teaching their children safe driving behaviors, including by setting a good example by refraining from distracted driving themselves.

Involved in an accident?

Florida's roads and highways can be dangerous places because of drivers who fail to drive carefully. Anybody who has been hurt in a crash that may have been caused by a distracted driver should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Accident victims may be able to pursue additional claims against an at-fault driver. An attorney can help crash victims understand their legal options and whether they may be able to successfully pursue a legal claim.