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Friday, September 21, 2012

Teens Tragically Ignore Passenger Limits

It has long been known that the more teenagers you put in a car, the greater the chances of a serious collision. Research shows when a teen driver has more than one passenger in the car, use of seat belts by the occupants is reduced and there are more distractions to divert the teen driver’s attention from the road. Male teen drivers especially, when accompanied by an audience, have a tendency to want to show off behind the wheel. Add night time driving and it becomes a recipe for disaster.

A case in point is a collision in which a North Carolina teen was killed while riding as a passenger with a teen driver. At the time of the crash, the 17 year old driver was carrying four passengers in his pickup truck. North Carolina’s GDL law limits drivers under the age of 18 to no more than one passenger unless the driver is accompanied by a supervising licensed driver over the age of 21.

Investigators say high speed was most likely the major contributing factor to this collision. The driver failed to negotiate a curve, swerved, hit a ditch and then overturned flipping several times before coming to rest upside down.

According to authorities, only one teen, a 16 year old back seat passenger was wearing a seat belt. The driver and three other passengers were ejected from the vehicle. The teen that died was pinned beneath the truck. The other three who were ejected had to be transported to the hospital with serious injuries. The 16 year old girl who was wearing her seat belt received only minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene.
GDL laws have been proven effective in dramatically reducing the teen death rate over the past several years but they only work when they are obeyed. Parents need to know the GDL laws and prevent their teen drivers from carrying more than the allowed number of passengers. Parents also need to know when their teen will be a passenger that their teen will be the only passenger or else prevent them from going.

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