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Thursday, August 24, 2006
Teenagers Play Deadly Game of 'Trunking' to Bypass Young Driver Laws
Law authorities have discovered a shocking new fad among teenage drivers: some teens, inconvenienced by the new rules prohibiting new young drivers from having other teens in the car, have found a way to get around the law. It's called "trunking." Some teenage passengers are riding in the trunk of the car.
While the rules are not uniform from state to state, the national laws that govern teen driving are becoming more stringent. When a young motorist gets his or her restricted license, they may only drive with family members in their car. Furthermore, they are not allowed to drive past midnight until they turn 18 years old.
"We're trying to keep our teens safe," said Bob Wilson of the National Safety Council, "and it's proven that by restricting other teenage passengers it reduces risk to them."
But although many young adults know that trunking is illegal, they do not comprehend it's jaw-droppingly dangerous.
Best friends Chris Snyder and Scott Atchison were traveling in the trunk of a car when the teenage driver drove into a tree.
"The trunk lid popped open in the crash, ejected them onto the highway and they were run over," said Wilson.
Both teenagers died in the terrible—and preventable—accident.
"I've ridden in the trunk a few times," 20-year-old David Mack said. "We had too many people in the car and I was the smallest one, so it all came down to me."
Parents need to make the driving laws explicit, say driver safety experts.
"It's the parents' responsibility for getting their teenager through the teenage years safely," explained Wilson. "Certainly the trunking issue comes into play—cell phone use, alcohol, drug use, seatbelt use—all of those are parent responsibilities to make sure their teen is compliant."
For more information about driver safety, The National Safety Commission and Lowest Price Traffic School offer safe teen driving resources for first time drivers and their parents. Click here for our monthly newsletter for teen drivers and the Driver Education Guide for Parents.