According to a report issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one out of every five fatal car accidents involves an unlicensed driver. The report was written by a research team from Texas A&M University, using data that was collected from the Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Unlicensed to Kill
Entitled Unlicensed to Kill, the report provides the alarming details of how many of these unlicensed drivers are habitual offenders with multiple license losses. The FARS data revealed that there are more than 8,400 people killed each year in crashes that involved a driver who did not have a valid license to drive. Almost 30 percent of those drivers had three or more license suspensions or revocations on their records within the prior three years of the fatal accidents.
The study examined data from a five year period. Of the approximately 278,000 drivers involved in almost 184,000 crashes, 38,374 did not have driving privileges at the time of the crash. Their licenses had been canceled, denied, expired, revoked, or suspended. Some of the drivers involved in these crashes had absolutely no driving records at all. An additional 20 percent of the drivers – almost 37,000 – were not classified because they were either hit-and-run accidents or police had not determined the status of the driver’s license.
One member of the research team compared the current system of license suspensions to a revolving door, where despite multiple losses of driving privileges, these drivers continue to get behind the wheel and drive.
The study did find several common factors that appeared time and time again among the unlicensed drivers, including:
- The majority of unlicensed drivers were male;
- Approximately one-third of unlicensed drivers were younger than 20 years of age;
- The majority of these accidents occurred either in early morning or late at night;
- Unlicensed drivers who were driving with a suspended license were three times more likely to be under the influence of alcohol when the fatal crash occurred. Drivers with revoked licenses were four times as likely; and
- If the fleeing driver in the hit-and-run accidents was eventually identified, he or she was five times more likely to be unlicensed.
Contact a Carolinas Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident involving an unlicensed driver, contact an experienced North Carolina car crash attorney to find out what legal options you may have against the driver. If the driver was unlicensed, it is more than likely he or she was also driving without auto insurance coverage and this could make your claim for damages more complex.