Investigators say the six teens were all in the same car shortly after midnight on a Sunday when the young driver, for reasons yet unknown, left the roadway and slammed into a building. One of the youths was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say speed was likely a factor in the crash.
Study finds teens with passengers more likely to crash
In fact, one study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute and released last year revealed that 15-to-17-year-old drivers are nearly eight times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash when they are carrying two or more teen passengers. This was based on 10 years of national traffic data. This represents a 30 percent increase during that time frame.
In Alabama, the graduated driver's license program limits the number of passengers that novice drivers can have in a car at any one time. For those with a Stage I learner's permit, new drivers can only operate a vehicle when a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver older than 21 is in the front passenger seat. A driver with a Stage II restricted license may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle who is not a parent, legal guardian or family member.
The National Safety Council notes that the most dangerous time in a teen driver's life is during the first year that he or she has a license. In fact, nothing kills more teenagers than car crashes. Some 4,700 people die every year in crashes involving teen drivers, with passengers accounting for 1,200 of those and occupants of other vehicles accounting for 1,120. Pedestrians, cyclists and other non-occupants account for 400.
These points are especially relevant in March, at the height of the spring break season, as teens and young college students will be flocking to the Gulf Coast. Mobile is an ideal spot, though we fully anticipate many of our youth will also be traveling nearby to the Florida panhandle.
Many spring break celebrations incorporate alcohol. When you factor in binge drinking with inexperience behind the wheel, the consequences are often fatal.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety has said that it expects heavier-than-usual traffic, particularly to southern Alabama, in the months of both March and April due to spring break. The agency urges parents to discuss with teens ways to make safe driving a top priority.
Other important rules of the road include:
- Always wearing a seat belt;
- Focusing on the road, and avoiding distractions, such as texting or calling someone on your cell phone.
- Limit the number of teen passengers in your vehicle.
- Obey speed limits and other traffic safety laws.
- Limit your night time driving.
- Never drink or use drugs prior to getting into a vehicle. Make sure your teen knows he or she can always call you if they find themselves in a bad situation.
Accident lawyers in Mobile can help if you have been injured in an Alabama traffic accident. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.