Tragic Charlotte Accident Reveals Teen Driving Risks

In North Carolina, there are graduated licensing laws because it is believed to be safer to slowly introduce young people to the responsibility of driving. One of the issues addressed in the law is whether teenage drivers are allowed to have passengers in the car with them or not. The law says teens cannot have more than one passenger who is under age 21 in the car with them when the teen is driving, unless the passenger falls within an exception that is made for family.

Under these laws, however, once a driver is 16, the motorist can qualify for a full license and will no longer face restrictions on passengers. Unfortunately, even at this age, there is a substantial risk for young people with peers in the car. One tragic accident in Charlottereported on by Fox 8 shows the devastating consequences which may occur when a young person drives with many underaged friends in the car.

Accident With Teen Driver Causes Fatality and Injuries

The accident, which happened in Charlotte, led to the death of one 14 year old boy and caused four other teens to sustain injuries. The driver of the car was 17. The boy who was killed was in the front seat of the car. There were also three 15 year old girls in the back seat of the vehicle.

The driver of the car took a curve too quickly as he was driving home around 4:00 AM. He lost control of the car and the vehicle ended up going off the road where it struck a tree. While the young teen driver was not intoxicated, it is believed he may have been speeding, according to preliminary reports from authorities responding to the crash scene.

Unfortunately, with four passengers in the car, this young driver had a substantially greater chance of becoming involved in an accident than if he had been alone in his vehicle.

When a teenage driver has two passengers under 21 with him in the car, his per-mile chances of being killed in a crash double. Once there are at least three other teen passengers, the risk of being killed in a collision quadruples.  While having someone over the age of 35 in the car can bring the crash rate down for teenage drivers, teens alone with their friend are at very high risk.

This is because, as one recent CBS report reveals, having friends in the car could be more of a distraction than cell phone use. Coupled with a teen driver’s relative inexperience to hazardous events on the road, the possibility exists for a serious and potentially fatal accident to occur.

Teen drivers and their parents must be aware there are significant risks to having passengers in the car, and should make informed choices about how to reduce dangers by keeping passengers to a minimum.