In Orange County, California over two million registered passenger vehicles are operated by drivers between 16 to 19 years of age. California’s DMV traffic research report that the highest risk of traffic accidents is among teen drivers. Further statistics show that one in five first-year teen drivers are involved in a car accident.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm teens are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. The primary reason for teen car accidents are distractions, risky (daring) behaviors, and overconfidence of operating a vehicle.
If your teen is involved in a vehicle accident, you need to speak with an experienced attorney familiar with California’s teen driving laws.
Teen Driving Statistics
Depending on the accident’s cause, injury severity or property damages, the teen driver could be ticketed for a traffic offense or charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime under California’s legislative vehicle code laws.
The most common traffic violations causing bodily injury involving teen drivers include:
• Speeding – 35 percent overlook the posted speed limits.
• Right of Way – 20 percent misjudge the need to yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
• Improper turns – 14 percent disregard posted street signs, traffic light restrictions, or fail to signal.
• Other – 8 percent follow to close (tailgate).
Electronic Driving Distractions
California law prohibits the use of wireless or hands-free cellphones while driving by all drivers. In 2017, the California Office of Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found that seventy-three percent of teen drivers between 15 to 19 years of age were involved in car accidents.
• More than 25 percent involved the use of a cell phone.
• Statistics show that teen males are involved in car accidents more frequently than females.
California Vehicle Code 23103 defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with a disregard for the safety of persons or property. Environments include public roads or highways or private or public parking structures.
Driving violations involve:
Alcohol and Drugs
Teens under the age of 18 with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.05 percent or higher operating a vehicle have committed a crime. California drivers younger than 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.08 or higher could be charged as an adult.
• Teens drivers under the influence lose their ability to detect potential traffic hazards with less alcohol consumption compared to adult drivers.
As a parent or legal guardian, you accepted responsibility when you authorize the teen’s (minor) license. Has your teen been arrested? Do you have questions about California’s teen driving laws?