Researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute, located at Texas A&M University, recently released a report which examined the number of fatal car accidents which are caused by unlicensed drivers. According to the report, one out of every five fatal crash involves a driver who does not have a license to drive.
The report, titled Unlicensed to Kill, was funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and used data collected from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The research team analyzed the data from 183,749 auto crashes, where someone was killed, that occurred over a five year period. There were 278,078 drivers involved in those crashes, of which 38,374 did not have a valid license when the accident occurred. Reasons for not having a license included expired, canceled, denied, revoked, suspended or never having a license issued.
There were an additional 36,000 accident drivers who could not be classified for the study because either law-enforcement did not classify (for unknown reasons) or the crash was a hit-and-run accident.
The report cites several commonalties among the unlicensed drivers involved in these deadly car crashes:
· The majority of the drivers were male.
· Most car accidents where a person is killed and involves an unlicensed driver happen either very late at night or very early in the morning.
· If a driver had a suspended license at the time of the crash, the chance that they were also intoxicated tripled.
· If a driver had a revoked license at the time of the crash, the chance that they were also intoxicated quadrupled.
· In deadly hit-and-run accidents where the driver was eventually identified, he or she was five times more likely not to have a valid driver’s license.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident caused by an unlicensed or uninsured driver, the costs of those injuries can be financially devastating, between medical bills and lost wages. However, Virginia law requires that car insurance policies include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (a.k.a. UM/UIM coverage) to help cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and loss, even for hit-and-run accidents. Families can also apply for UM/UIM coverage if a loved one was killed in the accident. Contact a Virginia personal injury attorney to learn more.