In this blog, we have examined the relationship between age and accident rates, with a focus on teens and seniors. Our Santa Rosa car accident law firm has noticed another trend involving age: a disproportionate number of crashes caused by twenty-something drivers. While this group has had time to master driving basics, they remain prone to risk-taking which can cause accidents, injuries, and even deaths.
Santa Rosa 27 Year-Old Charged in Early Morning Crash
Police recently arrested a 27 year-old Santa Rosa man on felony DUI charges following an accident discussed in The Press Democrat. Officer Steven Fricke reported that Isaac Rush was driving a 2012 Mazda 6 north on Highway 101 near Todd Road at about 3:15 A.M. He was speeding and swerved into the middle lane, hitting a Volvo SUV and forcing it into the center divider. The SUV spun out before coming to a stop in the fast lane. Rush was unhurt, though his vehicle landed in a ditch. The Volvo’s driver was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with pain and possible minor injuries. Officer Fricke said alcohol is believed to have been a factor, adding that the Volvo driver’s alleged injuries elevated the charges to felony-level.
Australian Study Finds Drivers in Their Twenties Engage in More Risky Driving Behaviors Than Drivers in Their Teens
A lack of research on twenty-something drivers inspired Australian researcher Suzanne Vassallo and the Australian Institute of Family Studies to conduct a research study discussed in a 2010 news.co.au report. The four year study of drivers aged 19 to 24 concluded that experience doesn’t always lead to better driving; three out of five drivers reported involvement in an accident since obtaining their license. More than 80% of the overall group reported speeding and a worrying 23% of 23 and 24 year olds reported driving drunk, a marked increase from the 14% of 19 and 20 year olds who said the same (note: the legal age for buying alcohol across Australia is 18, many areas allow younger people to drink at home with their parents present). The increase may, per Vassallo, be influenced by the graduation from provisional to full licenses which includes a shift from zero tolerance law to a 0.05 BAC limit. Moreove, the study found driving impaired also made the 20-somethings more likely to engage in other risk factors like speeding and failing to buckle their seatbelt.
The study, “In the Driver’s Seat II: Beyond the Early Driving Years,” is also discussed by Generation Next, a group focused on the well-being of young people. They note there was a small decrease in high-degree speeding and in driving without a seatbelt between the 19-20 year old group and 23-24 year olds, but the rate of other dangerous driving habits held steady or increased. Both the study authors and Generation Next writers conclude risky driving remains an issue for people into their 20s and suggested extending safety efforts aimed at teens into the next decade. The payoff could be particularly significant since risky driving was linked to other dangerous behaviors like alcohol and substance abuse.
Our Northern California Injury Law Firm on Safety and 20-Something Drivers
Interestingly, we did not locate a study focused on American drivers in their twenties. We believe research must be done to better understand the driving behaviors of 20-somethings. We also believe that safety messages should be developed targeting this important age group, perhaps tied in to the large amount of entertainment media devoted to this age group. People in their twenties must learn that they will be held accountable for their actions.
If a young adult driver caused an accident that injured you or a family member, call us at our Santa Rosa personal injury law office or any of our other Northern California locations. We can help you recover critical money damages and we can show the defendant and others that risky behaviors have real consequences, results for which they will be held responsible.
A Final Thought
Another thought — The twenties are the time when many people start their families. Accidents involving drivers in their twenties may, therefore, also involve young children. Even if the drivers refrain from risk-taking when their kids are present, if the parent is hurt or, worse, killed, it will have a dramatic impact on the life of their young child.
(Photo by Gabre Cameron)