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Teens more prone to dangerous driving behaviors

Recent crashes across the country have drawn renewed attention to some of dangers facing newly minted teenage drivers. From passenger distraction to the need to communicate constantly with friends via text, teens often do not realize just how dangerous their behavior is. Teen driver accidents are a leading cause of death for young people.

The spat of accidents started in Illinois when four Chicago metro teens died after their car left the road and plunged into a creek. Then over the following weekend, six teens were killed when a sport utility vehicle carrying eight passengers veered off the road and went into a pond. The last accident occurred in Texas as a teen driver blew through a stop sign and collided with a gas tanker truck. In the Texas accident, the SUV was carrying four teenager passengers. All the occupants died in the collision.

High-risk behavior

The teens involved in the Texas and Ohio accidents were involved in high-risk behavior. In each case, the teen drivers had passengers in the vehicle, which adds to distraction for young drivers. None of the teens who perished in the Ohio accident was wearing a seat belt and the driver was allegedly "playing around" and speeding.

In the Texas crash, the driver was only 16 and had received his driver's license just a few months before the accident. Teenage boys are also at a heightened risk. In 2010, the fatality rate for boys between ages 16 to 19 was almost twice the rate for girls the same age.

Weekend driving itself adds to the chances of an accident. According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, 55 percent of motor vehicle-related teen deaths happen on the weekend between Friday and Sunday.

Texas had the highest number of young drivers dying on its roadways, according to 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. There were 187 fatal crashes. The next highest state was Florida where 113 young people died in car accidents.

Efforts to educate youth

Several insurance companies are offering a new program for parents of teenage drivers. The companies will attach a webcam to the rear-view mirror of the teen's car. The camera records everything, but only saves recordings when dangerous behavior is detected, such as swerving, taking a sharp turn or hard braking.

The video provides parents the chance to later sit down with their teens and review what happened during certain incidents. Often the service is free for the first year that the teen has a driver's license.

Liability considerations after an accident

When a teen driver causes a car crash, it may require an investigation to uncover risky behavior such as texting. When negligent driving behavior results in serious injuries to others - passengers in the same car or those riding in another vehicle - there are civil legal remedies available.

If injured in an auto accident, contact a Texas personal injury attorney to discuss the circumstances of the crash. An attorney can ensure that you receive fair compensation for past and future medical expenses, possible lost wages while recuperating and pain and suffering.