There are many risks involved in driving, and many laws in place in order to minimize them and create as safe of an environment as possible. One such law is the requirement of a valid driver’s license when operating any motor vehicle. Unfortunately, many people continue to drive despite the fact that their license has been suspended or revoked. This puts anyone on the road with them at risk of a car accident with unlicensed driver.
Car Accidents Involving Unlicensed Drivers
According to a study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers without a valid license are responsible for 20 percent of all automobile accidents. This means that on average, a car accident with unlicensed driver cause about 8,400 deaths in the U.S. per year. This same study found that approximately three percent of all drivers are unlicensed and approximately 18 percent of fatal car and truck crashes involved an unlicensed driver. Out of that 18 percent, six and a half percent had a revoked or suspended license, just over one percent had a cancelled or expired license, and even more alarmingly, five percent had no license.
A Common Demographic
Although unlicensed drivers are of various ages, the AAA study showed that about fifty percent of all car accidents involving unlicensed drivers were 21 to 34 years old. Even more heartbreaking is the finding that half of all fatal accidents involving unlicensed drivers were driving while under the influence of alcohol. The AAA study found that one-third of drivers without a license are younger than 20 years of age, while most of them are male. Unlicensed drivers are more likely to drive early in the morning or late at night, presumably to try to avoid being on the road with a lot of people and to minimize the risk of being caught.
An Alarming Trend
According to AAA, unlicensed drivers and drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked are significantly more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than are validly-licensed drivers. Alarmingly, over the past 20 years, there has been an upward trend of unlicensed drivers and drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked that have been involved in fatal hit-and-runs.
Per a trends report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, motorcyclists driving without a license are also a big issue. In each year from 2006-2016 an average of 16 percent of motorcyclists did not have a valid license. The report went on to say that the rate of unlicensed fatally injured motorcycle drivers during 2016 was higher than the rate of unlicensed fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers (27 percent vs. 16 percent).
What Measures Have Been Taken?
It’s important to find a way to deter and prevent unlicensed individuals from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. There are a few things that have been implemented in the hope of doing just that. An AAA study in California found that impounding the car of an unlicensed driver is an effective way to keep up to 30 percent of would-be violators from driving. By keeping the vehicle impounded for 30 days, it gives the owner of the vehicle the opportunity to acquire a license. If he or she does not obtain it, the police will keep the vehicle. Other methods include pulling over the driver and making them take their license plates off of the car and having them pay for towing, pay $1000 to get their car back, and giving police the authority to pull over a car even if it is used by multiple people in the household. This ensures that the individual with the revoked or suspended license is not at the wheel. If you have initiated a lawsuit surrounding injuries sustained due to a car accident with unlicensed driver, but worry about your ability to keep up with all of your expenses, call USClaims.
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