According to a study led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, 50 percent of young drivers who died in car accidents were under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana. The researchers looked at fatal accident statistics from nine states, including West Virginia. Between 1999 and 2011, there were 7,191 fatal accidents in these states involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 25. Of these fatalities, 50.3 percent of the drivers tested positive for alcohol, marijuana or both.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among 18 to 25 year olds in the United States. Young drivers often underestimate the risk and responsibility of being on the road. In West Virginia, teenagers are required to get a restricted license before graduating to a regular license. The goal of the restricted license is to ease young drivers into driving while they develop their skills. However, despite these precautions, a lack of experience combined with distractions or alcohol consumption often lead to collisions, sometimes with fatal results.

Alcohol consumption is not the only contributing factor to auto accidents in young drivers. Other causes include:

  • Speeding
  • Immaturity
  • Inexperience
  • Texting
  • Distracting passengers
  • Risky driving

While people of all ages should be wary of driving distractions and should never get behind the wheel while intoxicated, teens and young adults are more at risk of accidents that involve these factors. If you or your child has been in an auto accident in West Virginia, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you.