On August 28th, a 9-year-old girl was set to start out the new school year. Unfortunately, on her way to school, an 18-year-old reckless driver made their way into oncoming traffic. Even though the child’s mother swerved to avoid a collision, the family’s vehicle was still struck.
The young girl was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Three other passengers were injured including a 3-year-old who was treated for minor injuries and a 16-year-old boy who was placed in intensive care.
The 18-year-old driver responsible for the accident was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Dangers of Teenage Drivers
Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to crash if they are distracted or using any kind of electronic device when behind the wheel. The risk for crashing also increases with each passenger in the vehicle.
It’s hard to be in control of what your teenage driver does when out on the road by themselves but it is important for parents to recognize that proper driving etiquette starts at home. Some rules that you can enforce with your teenage driver include:
- No cell phone or electronic devices when driving – For responsible drivers, this is an obvious rule, but for teenagers, it can be hard to keep focused on the road without becoming distracted by texts, phone calls, or even a GPS.
- Enforce driving laws – Teen drivers need to be aware of all driving laws, speed limit signs, traffic signs, or any other vital driving hazards that may be around.
- No passengers – Parents should limit the types of passengers their new driver has in the car with them during the first year of driving. Teens with passengers are more likely to get distracted while driving. Keep passengers limited to adults such as parents, family members, or any other trusted adult.
- No driving at night – Daytime driving is easier for new drivers. While busy roads can be overwhelming in broad daylight, driving at night can be even more challenging. Setting a driving curfew is best. Parent supervised driving should be implemented until you are confident that your teen is ready to drive alone at night.
- No impaired driving – Teen drivers should absolutely never operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or while drowsy.
- Avoid driving in bad weather.
- Drive on roads that have less traffic/low-volume roads.
- All drivers and passengers should always wear a seatbelt!
Child Crash Fatalities
- 43% of children fatalities occurred as a result of being improperly secured or completely unsecured when riding in a car.
- 15% of children were sitting in the front seat and not properly restrained in the back seat.
Ensuring that your child is properly strapped in should be a parent’s number one priority. You can avoid the injury or death of your child by properly fastening them, or utilizing a car seat, depending on their size and weight. Please consider the following information:
- Children aged 2-years-old and younger should be in a rear-facing car seat. Another factor that determines if your child should be in a rear-facing seat is their height and weight.
- Children aged 2 to 5 are able to be in a front facing seat when properly buckled. Check the manual for weight and height limits.
- Children ages 5 and up can move to using a booster seat.
- Once children are at a weight and height where there is no longer a use for a booster seat, then they can be safely secured in a standard vehicle seat belt.
Some other ways to keep your child safe are:
- Children 12 and under should sit in the back seat.
- Avoid sitting a child in front of an airbag.
- Parents should also always wear a seat belt to set a good example for their children.