Turning 16 and getting a driver’s license is something teens have been looking forward to for generations. But just like President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “great power involves great responsibility.” The Centers for Disease Control reports that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the highest risk for crashes and that risk is especially high within one year of obtaining a license.
Massachusetts state officials passed new laws (effective March 31, 2007) that increased driver’s education requirements and penalties for teen drivers. Between 2007 and 2010, thanks to these new laws, the number of fatal accidents involving teens under 18 fell 75%. The number of traumatic brain injuries was reduced as well.
Arborway Boston Teen Collision Causes Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
On September 6, 2013, six people were injured in a major collision on Jamaica Plain’s Arborway in Boston. An SUV carrying four teens was racing at 80 miles per hour when it jumped the median and crashed into a pickup truck traveling the opposite direction. The driver of the pick-up truck, a 33-year-old father of three, was in a coma for months.
Of the four teens in the speeding car, only two were wearing seatbelts. The two who were not, ages 14 and 15, respectively, were ejected from the vehicle. The 14-year-old has sustained severe permanent damage to his brain, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spine. The driver, age 18, and another 15-year-old passenger were wearing their seatbelts, but still suffered serious injuries.
The young man behind the wheel was charged criminally with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and civilly with speeding, unsafe crossing of road lane markings, and failing to ensure that two passengers under 16 were secured with safety belts.
Teach your Teen to Drive Safely
As a parent or guardian of a teen driver, you can make a contribution to preventing tragic injuries and wrongful deaths by teaching your newly licensed teen safe driving tips. Remind your teen that it is not only incredibly unsafe to drive without a safety belt, but it is also illegal. In addition, encourage them to not be afraid to call you if they need a ride home after a party, even if they might be embarrassed to admit their behavior; their safety and the safety of other drivers is ALWAYS more important.
Multiple insurance carriers as well as the American Automobile Association have tips and online tools to help educate teen drivers so check with your insurance company website. In addition, there are smart phone apps to help keep teen drivers safe, including methods to block the ability to text and drive. Consider contacting a school district official in your hometown to request a presentation by the End Distracted Driving campaign at your teen’s high school. Most importantly, remember that your teens learn through your example, so do your best to be a safe driver yourself.
Hire an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident and Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you or your teen driver is a victim of a collision involving another young driver, contact Boston Attorney Neil Burns. He has been supporting and representing Massachusetts families for almost 30 years. Call 617-227-7423 today for a free consultation!! There is no fee until you win!