Teen car crash deaths are on the rise. Alcohol, drugs and distracted driving are all taking a toll on young drivers.
For example take this tragic case: a teenager from Belle, MO was the passenger of a 2005 Dodge driven by Bradley Wells, 18, also of Belle, MO when he was killed in an accident that occured on MO 89, 2.5 miles south of US 50 on September 10th at 7:45AM. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F, the accident occured when Wells was passing a tractor trailer on a curve and travelled off the left edge of the road into a ditch, struck a culvert pipe and over tuned several times. The vehicle came to rest in the left road ditch on its top.
Wells and Siegler were both transported to St. Mary’s Hospital by ambulance. Wells sustained only minor injuries. Siegler was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital by Dr. Slaughter. The accident was investigated by Trooper Baker and assisted by Trooper North and the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. This teen car crash was avoidable.
According to the Missouri State Highway Arrest Reports, Wells was arrested for 1) Minor in Possession by Consumption, 2) Zero Tolerance, 3) Careless and Imprudent Driving Resulting in an Accident.
In Missouri parents can play an active role in helping protect their teens by taking several steps to keep them safe.
- Under Missouri’s graduated license law a parent can suspend a teen’s license and prevent them from driving. If your teen should not be driving taking this step could save their life and the lives of others.
- Teach teens to follow the graduated license law. For example limits on numbers of people in the car based upon age are incorporated into the law. Research shows that the more passengers in the car, the greater the risk of a car accident for teen drivers. Make sure your teen follows the law.
- Encourage the use of safety belts. Safety belts significantly reduce the severity of injury in crashes.
- Encourage good driving by following the rules of the road yourself and teaching your teen to follow them as well.
- Enter a sober driving contract or pact. If your teen ever does get intoxicated, make a pact to pick them up so they will not drive while intoxicated.
- If you see something, say something. If you see a teen doing something unsafe, contact their parents, guardian or police. You might just save their life.
The law firm of Gump & Faiella encourages parents and guardians to take an active role in preventing dangerous driving. Teen car crash deaths are a tragedy we can all work to prevent. For more information see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website on teen driving.