A 47 year old man was killed and three members of his family were seriously injured yesterday afternoon when a 16 year old ran a stop sign. A nine year old girl had to be rushed by CareFlight to John Peter Smith Hospital and is in critical condition and a 12 year old boy was unconscious at the scene but was walking later. My prayers go out to the family in this tragic case.
The teenager was speeding as he left the Doral Golf Course or the Marriott Hotel across the street from the Texas Motor Speedway — see any irony in that? He failed to stop at the sign at Texas Highway 114 and crashed into the driver side of the family’s small Honda that was headed westbound on 114. The force of the impact knocked the Honda over. It landed in a ditch on the north side of the highway.
There were two other teens in the Dodge. It is not known at this time whether drugs or alcohol was involved or whether the teen was texting or calling on his cell phone at the time. The District Attorney’s Office will investigate to see if any criminal laws were violated.
Why Is This A Problem?
We need to do more to educate our young drivers and prevent this mayhem. Consider these alarming statistics:
Teen drivers crash four times more often than any other age group.
* More than 4,000 teens die in car crashes each year in the U.S. — 11 a day.
* More than 450,000 teens are injured each year in collisions.
* Driver distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes for young drivers.
* Drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
* Vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States.
Here, assuming that the teen was driving during the 12 months after he received his original provisional license, he was prohibited from driving with more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 not a family member.
Another state law prevents teens from driving from midnight through 5:00 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the driver to work, to attend or participate in a school-related activity, or due to a medical emergency.
Furthermore, drivers under 18 years of age cannot use a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, until they reach the age of 18 except in the case of an emergency.
Teenage Driver Accident Causes
One reason why accident statistics for teens is so high is because they are inexperienced and often fail to recognize dangerous situations. Some of the reasons why teenaged drivers get into collisions include:
Reckless Driving Speeding Peer Pressure Tailgating Distracted Driving Careless Driving Driving Under the Influence Fatigued Driving Driving at Night
The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2010 39% of fatal crashes involved speeding while 25% involved alcohol. Teens are also less likely to wear seat belts, in 2011 only 54% admitted to wearing seatbelt while riding as a passenger in a vehicle.
Tips for Teenage Drivers and Their Parents
Parents should take extra precautions when driving with their teens whether they are the driver or passenger as they can steer teens toward driving more carefully.
Many states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, offer a graduated driver licensing program which gives teens the chance to become exposed to driving over an extended period of time. The program helps enforce rules and gradually open up different driving scenarios to teens over time.
If you have a teenaged driver, or know one, here are some tips to offer next time they take to the road:
- Do not use your cellphone or other electronic devices, if you need to for an emergency then pull over to the side of the road
- Slow down
- Don’t drink and drive
- Avoid distractions such as passengers or loud music
- Let others, such as your parents, know where you are going or when they should expect your return
- Always use a seatbelt
- Parents can also help teen drivers get acclimated by limiting the number of hours a teen drives or how many passengers they are allowed to have.
Driving is big a responsibility and teens should be ready to handle all the hazards they encounter. Teens may also want to get familiar with how defensive driving could help them.
Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident where a teenaged driver was behind the wheel, our auto accident attorneys can provide steadfast legal counsel. You may be entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our experienced team is ready to review your claim.
At Berenson Law Offices we have been helping clients in Texas and across the United States for over 33 years. If you are interested in having your case reviewed for free and at no obligation, contact us at 1-888-801-8585 or in Fort Worth at 817-885-8000. You may also contact us online by filling out the free case review form on the home page to have your claim reviewed right away.