At the end of last week, a Chicago auto accident lawyer here read an article on the Central Illinois Proud web page about an accident that had involved two teenagers. The accident occurred in LaSalle County, where a 16-year-old driver was driving north and accidentally crossed over into the southbound lane and was hit by a semi-truck. According to the police report, the teen driver was driving with her 12-year-old brother as a passenger, and they had both died as a result at the accident. The driver of the semi truck suffered injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.” The site also states that drivers who are in-between the ages of 16 to 19-years-old are four times more likely than drivers who are older and adults to be involved in car crashes. This could be due to the fact that teens are more likely to underestimate risky situations, are more likely to speed, and are more likely to not wear their seatbelt.
Our Illinois auto accident lawyers want to remind parents and teens that the number of teen auto accidents can be reduced if local governments and parents take steps to educate teens on the dangers and responsibilities that come with driving. One of the most effective programs for reducing teen accidents is the graduate driver licensing system, or GDL system. As reported in previous blog entries, the GDL system has three phases: the permit phase for drivers who are 15, the initial licensing phase for drivers who are between 16 and 17, and the full licensing phase, for drivers who are between 18 and 20. This system gives teens more time behind the wheel with a parent or guardian who can teach them the rules of the road. It also keeps teens off the road at night and prevents them from riding with or carrying too many young passengers, thereby reducing distractions.
In the wake of tragic accidents like this, our Chicago car accident attorneys continue to advocate for programs like the GDL system because they teach teens to avoid distractions, maintain a safe speed, and always wear a seatbelt, in addition to many other tools. Parents should also frequently talk with their teens about safe driving habits and set strict boundaries. Parents should also remember that they are an example for their teenager to follow, and should always wear a seatbelt, avoid distractions, and maintain a safe speed and following distance when their children are in the car observing them. We hope that programs like the GDL system will spread with the hopes of decreasing the number of teen fatalities that occur each year.