The start of a new college semester brings all sorts of emotions—excitement, nerves, and anticipation. With several colleges in the Central Florida area, we see it all. As students move in and prepare for a new school year, it’s important to be prepared for anything. That includes college students being in car accidents.
Many young adults aren’t thinking of hiring lawyers. Some may think that only older adults use lawyers. But the fact is that car crashes can affect anyone, and college-aged drivers may actually be at higher risk.
Statistics on College Students in Car Accidents
The most recent national data shows that 5,623 college-aged vehicle accident victims died in a single year. Another 567,000 sustained injuries.
That means a total of 572,000 were either killed or injured in crashes. This accounted for 20% of the national total.
In that same year, 1,289 college-aged drivers with alcohol in their systems died in crashes. This small age group made up 17% of the total drivers who died while under the influence of alcohol.
Why Are College Students at Risk for Car Accidents?
There are several factors that put college students at a higher risk for car crashes. Thankfully, many can be avoided with some simple safety precautions.
Moving to an unfamiliar place
First, many students move to new cities or states for college. They aren’t used to the roads, traffic patterns, or directions. Getting lost or confused can spell danger for drivers and those around them.
- Safety Tip: Spend some time driving around your new home to get a feel for the area. Drive carefully and pay close attention to the flow of traffic. Try to map out the best routes to your classes and local places you’ll be visiting often.
Less driving experience
It’s no secret that with age comes wisdom, and the rule applies to driving as well. Young college students may not have been driving for very long. Many have never had the freedom college offers, either.
- Safety Tip: This tip goes hand in hand with the last one. The best way to become a better driver is to drive more. Practice in your hometown before going off to college to make sure that you’re comfortable behind the wheel.
Partying and drunk driving
Sadly, colleges are a hotspot for drinking and driving. As students explore their newfound freedom, they may indulge in alcoholic drinks. But this comes with a price. In fatal crashes in 2017, the highest percentage of drunk drivers were age 21-24.
- Safety Tip: You should never drive if you are under the influence of alcohol. There is never an excuse for drunk driving, especially with the availability of ridesharing. Drink responsibly and always use a designated driver.
College students are notoriously social, which may lead them to use their phones behind the wheel. There are plenty of other distractions vying for drivers’ attention too, like loud music or other passengers. Distracted driving played a part in over 3,000 deaths in a recent year.
- Safety Tip: When you’re driving, just drive. Don’t check your phone or use social media. Eating and drinking, applying makeup, or adjusting car controls can all distract you enough to cause a crash. Let passengers know that you’re counting on them to keep you from distractions. Let them navigate or be the DJ!
What Should College Students Do after a Crash?
Many students may not know where to turn after a crash. Should they use a lawyer in their college town, or one from back home? According to our attorney Beach Brooks III, you should hire an attorney from where the crash happened for several reasons.
“I’d always recommend reaching out to a local attorney because they’re going to know the laws and they’re going to be able to practice in the state where the crash occurred,” he says in our latest podcast episode.
When it comes to compensation, college students could recover for their medical expenses, or for lost wages if you work. Florida students can also qualify for compensation for future lost wages. If your injuries keep you from earning the same amount in the future, you can also recover that lost money.
“One thing that’s very important to note about college students is that they’re young,” says Beach. “Their life expectancy is 60 plus years. College students’ case values tend to be higher because they’re looking at a lifetime of pain and suffering, and many, many years of future treatment.”
An experienced personal injury attorney from Brooks Law Group can find all the different avenues to recover from.
In an Accident? Contact Brooks Law Group.
As students gear up for a new year, don’t let a crash ruin all the excitement. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call the attorneys of Brooks Law Group. Located right between UCF and USF, we’re ready to help all Central Florida college students get back on track. We’ll fight to make sure you get all the damages you deserve.
Call us at 1-800-LAW-3030 or contact us online. Accepting new clients now!