Difficult Lessons of Fatal Teen Accident
The death of six teenagers in a high speed crash in Ohio last weekend that made national news serves as a cautionary tale for parents. While we offer our deepest condolences to the families of these teenagers, we hope that other parents will view this tragedy as a reminder that teen drivers are the most likely of all age groups to be involved in serious auto accidents. Investigators of the fatal accident this weekend indicated that speed was a key contributing factor in causing the SUV loaded with eight teenagers to crash into a guardrail and flip over into a pond. Five teenage boys who were passengers and the girl who was driving all died in the SUV rollover accident. The victims of this deadly crash ranged in age from 15-19.
Despite laws designed to discourage the kind of high risk behavior that can lead to terrible tragedies like this one, teenagers still are at the greatest risk of dying in an auto accident. The sense of invincibility that comes with youth can create a false sense of security. Many teens die in auto accidents because this sense of invincibility, along with a lack of real world experience, can lead to many forms of high risk behavior. While this accident is still under investigation, excessive speed may have combined with driving distractions because so many teenagers were riding in the vehicle. The police also are waiting on a toxicology report to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved. The high risk activity also included the failure to wear a seatbelt. One of the boys who was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle died when the vehicle rolled over his body.
Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. Seven teens per day between the ages of 16 and 19 die in motor vehicle accidents according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Drivers who are in this age range are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than drivers age 20 and older. During a recent twelve month period, 2,700 teenagers died in car accidents while over 280,000 more were injured.
Georgia has specific restrictions aimed at the types of factors that may have contributed to this road departure rollover accident. Novice teen drivers are prohibited from transporting other teens. Georgia also has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI. If teenagers have a BAC of .02 percent, this constitutes DUI for underage drivers in Georgia. These laws, along with Georgia’s mandatory seatbelt laws, all provide safeguards to reduce the risk of teen car accidents resulting in serious injury or wrongful death.
While all of the families of the accident victims must cope with the grief that accompanies the loss of a child, the parents of the girl who was driving are likely to face wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of the boys who died in the fatal crash. When a tragedy like this occurs in Georgia, it can be important to have underinsured motorist coverage (which also pays in the event the other driver is underinsured- if they do not have enough insurance). Georgia law only requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 in liability for injury or death of one victim in one accident and $50,000 for two or more victims. Because of the number of victims in this accident, these minimums will not begin to cover the losses of the families involved. Those families with their own underinsured motorist coverage may be able to rely on this coverage if the driver only had minimum liability insurance.
The Georgia car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.
Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.