Local News4 has reported that four teenage girls were killed in a Beltway crash Thursday night, just hours after two of them had graduated from West Potomac High School. A fifth girl was hospitalized. Reports indicate that their 2002 Volkswagen convertible was traveling in a restricted zone on an Interstate 95 ramp when it was struck by a tractor-trailer. Though alcohol is not yet known to have played a role in the accident, alcohol was discovered in the Volkswagen. Police say the truck driver is unlikely to be charged. The presence of young drivers on the roadways increases during summer months, and parents play an important role in ensuring their safety and reducing motor vehicle fatalities. In light of this, the National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that parents educate themselves about the risks that inexperienced, young drivers face and keep the following statistics in mind:
- “Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death among children and young adults.
- More than 3,800 young drivers age 15-20 are killed every year in traffic crashes. More than 326,000 young drivers are injured.
- Young drivers are involved in fatal traffic crashes at over twice the rate as the rest of the population.
- Exceding the posted speed limit or driving at an unsafe speed is the most common error in fatal accidents.
- About 30% of crashes killing young drivers involve alcohol.
- More than 1,000 young drivers lose their lives every year in crashes because of an impaired driver… be it themselves, or someone else.
- It is illegal in every state for a person under 21 to buy and/or publicly possess alcoholic beverages.
- All states and Washington, D.C. have zero tolerance laws. It is illegal for a minor (under 21) to purchase alcohol, so no amount of alcohol should be allowed in an underage driver.
- Zero tolerance laws are typically set between .00 and .02 per se as opposed to .08 or .10 for drivers 21 and older. Per se means that regardless of outward signs of intoxication, the amount of alcohol detected in the driver determines legal intoxication.”
Additionally, the NSC has prepared a new defensive driving course for drivers, ages 16-24, called “Alive at 25,” which complements standard drivers’ education courses, and can be used as a “refresher” course for young drivers who have incurred traffic violations. To learn more about the course, or to find an instructional site near you, visit the Alive at 25 webpage.
To become certified to teach the new driving course, visit the NSC website.
If you or a family member has been involved in an automobile accident, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at (202) 463-3030 for a free consultation. If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.