Teen Drivers Need Parental Guidance

In a very unusual incident in Texas, some time ago, reports have a teen hitting 10 vehicles in a mere 10 minutes span. The girl was driving a Mercedes and in a rush to reach a dance, she hit a 9-year-old boy.

On realizing her action, she may have panicked and in the next 9 minutes she hit nine other vehicles before reaching her destination. In this scene, she hit an elderly lady too. The boy was seriously injured and was immediately transported to the hospital. He received severe leg fractures and a spinal cord injury.

The lady involved was a pedestrian and received a head injury. The girl was immediately taken for testing concerning alcohol after which it was confirmed that she was not drunk. It was however found that she does not possess a valid license.

Reports indicate that in order to flee away from the scene she sped up the car and hit another truck parked nearby which raised her panic level furthermore. The incident happened at 9:00 o’clock in the evening which is the peak traffic time.

Underage drivers are not experienced and sometimes just do not know the right thing to do in a car accident. We really cannot judge a 16 year old as an adult. The noteworthy thing is that parents should not allow their young children to take control with out taking the time to discuss what to do if they are involved in an accident.

Dealing with legal issues at young ages brings down the morale of kids and may affect their future. Bobby Bowden the great Florida State football coach has a quote I would like to share with you. He said something like “if you do not teach your son respect for authority, the law will”.

The moral of this story is to spend time with your children and discuss what they should do in a car accident– whether or not it’s their fault.

New Drivers are at Risk

Some fatality accidents are more difficult to write about than others. The most painful involves the loss of young life – as was the case last week with a car driven by a recently licensed teenager carrying several passengers. According to eyewitness accounts, the car was filled with a driver and three passengers.

One was a 13-year-old passenger seated in the back that had not used his seat belt and strapped himself in. It seems maybe the other back seat passenger, a 15-year-old girl, had not belted herself either. Instead, she allegedly leaned forward to change the radio station and in so doing bumped the driver’s arm – causing him to lose control of the SUV.

The 13 year old was thrown from the vehicle and died as a result.

Now several charges are pending against the young driver. First, he ultimately held the responsibility for ensuring that all of his passengers were securely fastened in and remained that way throughout the course of their excursion. Of course, he is charged with a failure to maintain control of the motor vehicle.

But it is another charge that may come as a surprise to parents of new drivers. Recent restrictions placed on new drivers in Texas require that they may have no more than one passenger (who is not a family member) under the age of 21 in their vehicle for the first year after their driver’s license has been issued.

In this case the young man had three. Time and again studies have shown that passengers they consider to be their peers easily distract young drivers – and the combination is often deadly.

This is a very tragic accident, and my heart goes out to the family of the 13 year old and also to the young driver and other passenger who will carry this accident with them forever.

Parents – know where your child is heading and with whom, and please spend time when you drive asking all passengers every time “are you belted” and help you child establish safety as a routine. Young drivers need all the help we can give them.

Tragic Conroe Accident Takes Teens Life

In a recent news report comes a tragic story of a 19-year-old Houston area woman who was killed in a car accident on the way home from the Renaissance Festival.

According to reports , a young woman driving a small to midsize car may have fallen asleep at the wheel and ran off the road. The car crashed into a drainage ditch and severely hurt the driver who is 21, in addition to killing the passenger.

This tragic accident will undoubtedly be extremely traumatic for the family of the deceased and also the driver of the car. My heart goes out to the families of these young people.

A 2017 study about fallen asleep while driving included that young people aged 15 to 21 are the most likely segment of the population to have trouble falling asleep at the wheel.

One factor that several studies have identified is very helpful in preventing situations where a person inadvertently falls asleep at the wheel is rumble strips. Rumble strips serve as a wake-up mechanism when a driver gets out of the designated lanes. You can recall instances where you hear a humming noise when you move too far to the left or right and encounter strips of the highway that alerts you to correct your path.

Teen Driving Tips

Valuable tips for teenagers as they take to the roads. Parents – you cannot remind your teenagers often enough about certain dos and don’ts of driving.
Other than harping on them – the best you can do is hold your breath when they get in the car and hope you’ve hammered home safe driving  suggestions that will ensure your child returns to you in good condition.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t be a risk taker –Car crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for people ages 15 to 20.
  2. Don’t forget to buckle up–About two-thirds of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing safety belts.

    Do NOT speed (this point cannot be repeated enough) –One-third of teen fatalities involve speeding.

  3. Don’t be a rowdy rider– Adding one teen passenger to a vehicle increases a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s crash risk by about 50 percent.
  4. Forget the cell phone –Talking on a cell phone while driving or texting can double or triple reaction time.
  5. Don’t fiddle with your music machines –Research shows that adjusting the radio is the most common distraction for drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.
  6. Cut out late-night cruising –Teen crash rates at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) are twice as high as daytime rates. Obey parental curfews.
  7. DON”T DRINK AND DRIVE –Of 16- to 17-year-old drivers killed in crashes, one in six would have been considered legally intoxicated by adult standards.
  8. Don’t give in to peer pressure — Make good choices and don’t be afraid to “speak up.”

    Try not to be overly confident — Inexperience and overconfidence can lead to crashes when new drivers encounter unfamiliar or unexpected situations.

Be An Assertive Passenger

It is not often that I am a passenger in someone else’s car – more confident in my own driving ability and secure in the knowledge of what are considered the best driving habits. However, I did allow a colleague to take the wheel recently and my critique of this person’s shortcomings only redoubles my belief that – a. most people practice poor driving habits and b. I feel safest when I am driving myself.

No doubt, this stems from my extensive Austin personal injury practice and seeing what poor driving can do to innocent victims. It would give me some measure of comfort to succinctly relate this experience here and await any comments from my ‘sympathetic audience’.

On the day in question there were off and on torrential rains – not my favorite type of weather in which to drive. My associate and I headed for the court house and the driver chose to use the highway but did not slow down for the rain.

People cannot always bring their cars to a maximum speed on an open road thanks to Austin congestion and are therefore less likely to suffer serious injury in the case of an accident. Too, the presence of traffic signals tends to regulate the flow of traffic to a much greater extent than highway signs. However, as I was not the driver it was not my place to choose the route.

Once on the open road my companion proceeded to drive as if they had never had a lesson in their life! Between tailgating, speeding and constant lane switching I was on the edge of the seat!

Never have I breathed a greater sigh of relief than when this car’s ignition was turned to off! What is my point? If you are a passenger in a car that is being driven in an unsafe manner – speak up- be assertive! Honestly, I know I’ve said it before – but the life you safe may be your own!