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Kansas Ties for Highest Percentage of Fatal Crashes Involving Young Drivers

Female teen driving a car at night through a heavy rain storm.

A Wichita car accident lawyer discusses this troubling trend

Every state has fatal car accidents, but who the victims are changes by region.

In Kansas, we have the highest percentage of fatal crashes involving young drivers in the U.S. (though Utah ties the 10-year figure). From 2010-2019, 16% of all fatal car accident victims were young drivers. In Kansas, there were 567 young drivers killed over the years analyzed.

On a national scale, young drivers (ages 15-20) made up 13% of all fatal accident victims reported over the last 10 years, according to Valuepenguin research.

Wichita was recently rocked by tragedy in late October 2021 when seven people died and 23 were seriously injured in 14 different car crashes over one weekend. Among the victims were two teenaged drivers who were killed in separate incidents, Fox4 reports.

Common causes of car wrecks involving teens

Teenage car accidents are often due to a combination of inexperience, immaturity, and general comfort with taking risks. Overall, drivers ages 15-18 make up less than 7% of Kansas drivers but are involved in 20% of all fatal and injury-causing crashes.

Top contributing factors in fatal teen crashes include:

  • Distracted driving (inattention), especially texting and driving
  • Speeding
  • DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • Failure to yield
  • Disregard for signs and markings

In Kansas, one of the main contributing factors to teen driver fatalities is the decision to not wear a seatbelt. In 85% of all fatal teen car accidents, the Kansas Department of Transportation says the young driver did not buckle up. Nighttime driving and having young passengers are also factors that raise a teen's crash risk.

Preventing fatal teen crashes

Even though an uncommonly high proportion of Kansas fatal accident victims are young people, overall, the number of deadly car crashes decreased by 27% since 2010, the study says.

Kansas is making efforts to reduce teen car accidents. Among the most effective methods, according to studies, is the state's graduated driver's license program or GDL. These licenses put restrictions on when and with whom young drivers can operate a motor vehicle. The restrictions are lifted as the driver gains experience and passes benchmarks.

In Kansas, young drivers must hold a learner's permit for one year before obtaining a restrictive license or a full license. Learner's permits are available to people starting at age 14. At age 16, for six months, a restrictive license is available that limits passengers to no more than one non-sibling passenger under the age of 21 and no driving after 9 p.m. unless driving to and from work or school under certain conditions.

After these six months are successfully completed and the driver does not earn any traffic violations during this time, a full license is granted. A driver must be at least 16.5 years old to apply for this license.

Help for injured crash victims

If you or a loved one was injured in a Kansas car accident—whether the at-fault driver was a teen or someone older—you deserve compensation for your injuries and other accident-related expenses.

The problem is insurance adjusters care more about protecting insurance company profits than paying crash victims the compensation they're entitled to.

That's why after a bad wreck, it is important that you talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.

At Warner Law Offices, our attorneys don't just talk the talk. We walk the walk. We've built a reputation for being tough-minded and for offering the personalized attention our clients deserve.

To find out how we can help you, schedule a free consultation with an experienced Wichita car accident lawyer. There are no obligations, and you pay nothing unless you win. Contact us today.

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