For the past century, driving has been a rite of passage marking teenagers’ independence and the fast approach of adulthood. Soon, this rite of passage will be a thing of the past. And most of the blame will be due to driverless cars. Acquiring a car will no longer be a considerable event signifying maturity, along with the many current milestones involving the freedom of driving, even if it’s just from Pasco to Richland or from home to the store.

Right now, 15-year-olds are eager to begin driver’s education classes, where they spend hours learning safety and the rules of the road. However, when the family car becomes a driverless car, teens may begin “driving” at even earlier ages, and won’t have to count down the days until their 16th birthday and the upgrade from a learner’s permit to a state license. Once driverless cars are commonplace, teens will no longer be peppering social media accounts with posts of their first car and announcements of their newfound autonomy. And after they begin driving, new teen drivers won’t have to wait until their “six months are up” – the legal amount of time to wait to drive passengers, other than immediate family members – so they can buckle up with a carload of their friends, going to dinner, a party, or local concerts.

Frequently, these teenage road trips end in a disastrous crash. Passengers, smartphones, and loud music prove to be substantial distractions even for the experienced driver. As was discussed in a previous post, statistics from 2015 show that nearly 3,000 teens in the United States were killed in accidents, with more than 200,000 injured, usually with a teenager at fault. And in 2013, the cost of treating injuries from teen collisions was a whopping $10 million.

Although teen culture may experience changes due to driverless cars, parents won’t have to worry about their children being in a car accident while driving. DUI’s, texting while driving, and having a fun night out with friends won’t often result in injury – or death – once driverless cars are the norm. However, until that happens and you or your teen has been injured in a collision, you may need an attorney. Call Anderson Law at our Kennewick office for a free consultation at 509-734-1345 or contact us via the web form submission above.


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