According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), young drivers in British Columbia are defined as teens aged 15 to 19 and young adults aged 20 to 24. The risks of a young driver being involved in a crash include lifestyle, social and biological factors. With the imminent opening of the border that will allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to destinations south of the border, cross-border personal injury incidents will likely increase.
The most significant reason for young drivers’ vulnerability is inexperience, affecting them as follows:
- Inexperienced drivers tend not to scan their entire visual field but instead focus only directly ahead of them.
- Inexperience often prevents young drivers from recognizing potential road environment hazards.
- Young drivers often forget to check their speed while they are focused on non-driving-related issues.
Brain development and biology also play roles in the vulnerability of young drivers. Many young drivers face multiplied risks with their brain development not yet complete, emotional immaturity, poor judgment, and the typical thrill-seeking behaviour. When an inexperienced young driver has peers as passengers, the risk immediately exacerbates. Their brains must focus on driving while also interacting with their passengers.
During the teenage years and approaching adulthood young drivers have a lot of experimenting to do, often due to peer pressure. Alcohol and drugs are some of the most dangerous experiments to dabble in because their inexperience prevents them from recognizing their level of intoxication. Sadly, many drug or alcohol-related car accidents claim the lives of passengers who trusted an impaired friend to get them home safely.
Young drivers in British Columbia may not realize that they could be held liable for financial and emotional damages passengers incur in accidents caused by the driver’s negligence. Victims and surviving family members of those who lost their lives can pursue financial relief by filing personal injury lawsuits against the driver and, in some cases, the legal owner of the vehicle. When it involves cross-border personal injury claims, the legalities could be significantly more complicated.