She was recently named the Boys & Girls Club, "Youth of the Year." She and a male friend were on their way to their senior prom at Whites of Westport. Graduation was just days away. She would never make it to either.
Authorities say the 18-year-old Durfee High School senior lost control of her Ford Explorer on Interstate 195. The vehicle rolled over. Her companion suffered only minor injuries. But she was ejected from the car, according to FOX8. No other vehicles were involved. She was flown to Rhode Island Hospital by helicopter, but was soon after pronounced dead, according to Massachusetts State Police. News of the fatal crash was delivered to the 500 students at the prom. Parents were notified by automated call, and many came to pick their children up.
Although cause of the crash is under investigation, we do know it occurred just after the start of what is widely recognized as "The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer."
In the last five years, AAA reports 5,000 persons have died in accidents involving teens during this time frame, which marks the summer driving season, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Teens are at greater risk during this time because, on the whole, they tend to be driving more. They are going back and forth to summer jobs, they're going longer distances and taking vacations. During this three-month window, some 1,000 people die in teen car accidents. In fact, the average number of deaths from crashes involving 16- to 19-year-old drivers spikes by 16 percent throughout this time frame.
We know from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that auto accidents are the No. 1 killer of U.S. teenagers. Six teens die every day in auto accidents.
A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study revealed 6 in 10 car accidents involving teenage drivers involved distracted driving. The top three distractions among teens were:
- Talking/ paying attention to passengers
- Cell phone distractions (including texting and talking)
- Turning their attention to something in the vehicle (i.e., infotainment or radio)
Massachusetts has a multi-stage licensing process to help teens gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, including those in which they are most at risk, such as with multiple passengers in the vehicle.
M.G.L. Ch. 90, Section 8 offers details of the Commonwealth's junior operating licensing provisions. The law requires that for the first six months after obtaining a license, new drivers under the age of 18 may not drive with any passenger under 18 unless the driver is also accompanied by a person who is at least 21-years-old AND:
- Has at least one year of driving experience;
- Has a valid driver's license;
- Sits in the front seat, beside the driver.
The only exception to this rule are immediate family members, so that teens can help drive their siblings.
Teens in Massachusetts can obtain their learner's permit at age 16 and then their junior operator's license at 16.5. A full license can be obtained when they are 18-years-old, assuming they have held a junior operator's license for at least 12 months and are eligible for an unrestricted license.
Parents are encouraged to discuss the dangers of distraction with their teens, set family ground rules for teen vehicle use, and teach safe driving by example.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.