The only thing that the girls and friends wanted was to visit the beach. This is what teenagers in Southern California are supposed to do isn’t it?
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Three students, two of them girls who were students of the Irvine Unified School District, got into a vehicle on a bright spring day and drove towards the beach.
Abdulrahman Alyahyan, 17, who is a student in University High School, got behind the wheel of an Infiniti and headed off to the beach. [source: Flaccus].
According to police, at around 5:20 p.m., the sedan veered off a stretch of asphalt called Jamboree Road, a 55-mph (89-kilometers-per-hour) six-lane boulevard in south Orange County.
The Infinity struck the tree with force that was so strong that it split in two it, ignited and ripped the bark off of the tree. The crash killed all five of the passengers.
The toxicology report on the motorist was clear and police stated that the speed could be a factor in what was described by authorities as the worst accident that Newport Beach has had in recent memory . Source: CBS Los Angeles].
Two of the bodies were badly damaged that the coroner took fingerprints to identify the victims Source: Flaccus].
The tragic tale highlights the dangers that could occur when teens get behind the driving. Based on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety accident statistics, car crashes are the main reason for death for teenagers aged 13 to 19 and kill a staggering 3,000 teens across the U.S. each year [source: Juva-Brown].
The data are from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide similar alarming results in 2010. In 2010, seven teens a day, aged 16 to 19 suffered injuries during motor vehicle crashes (source: CDC].
The most basic, shocking fact is that teenagers tend to die in auto collisions than drivers who are older. In reality, drivers who are teenagers aged 16-19 have three times the likely than drivers who are 20 or older to get involved in fatal crashes according to the CDC.
In that same group, teens of males were twice as than likely to be killed in a vehicle crash than females (source: CDC]. As of 2011, there were 4,347 teenager drivers aged 15 to 20 had been involved in 10% from the fatalities of 43,688 that occurred in the United States [source: NHTSA[source: NHTSA].
What makes the numbers so negative? We’ll dig in next.
Too Much Alcohol and Speeding, Not Enough Experience
They were freshmen in college, close friends, since kindergarten. In the early hours in February of 2006, Jessica Rasdall and Laura Gorman were once inseparable and parted in the most gruesome of ways.
It started with a visit to the club with drinks; walking to the car, and turning the key. In less than an hour, Gorman was dead, and her best friend was accused of killing her (source: Goldberg ].
The scenario is common: teenagers drink and drive. While they were underage, Rasdall and Gorman had no problem taking shots within their Ybor City section of Tampa the historic district which is brimming with bars and eateries.
According to reports that the girls were drinking in one of the bars and left around 3 a.m. to take the 40-minute journey home. The vehicle veered off Interstate 275 and crashed down a slope, before colliding into the tree. Gorman passed away from her injuries as did Rasdall was treated with 400 stitches in order to heal the wound that was leaking out of her head.
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Authorities took blood samples and discovered that Rasdall was one-and-a-half times above the legal limit. Source: Goldberg]. (For Florida drivers over age 21 legally, the limit of 0.08 for drivers younger than 21; those who do not have to pay harsh penalty that are 0.02 or greater. )
Drinking and driving is among of the most common causes of death among teens drivers. In 2011 24,4 percent of the teens (ages 15 to 35) who were involved in fatal car accidents were drinking and 26 percent of them had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more as per the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
The same time the agency found it was 28 per cent of the young male drivers in fatal car accidents were drinking, in contrast to 16 percent for female drivers.
Being drunk and driving isn’t all that decides if teens are more likely to be killed in car accidents as compared to older drivers.
As per the CDC the majority of teens don’t have the necessary experience. They don’t have enough space between their vehicle and the rear of the vehicle in front of them. Teens are also more likely to overlook the risk of accidents than older drivers. (source: CDC ].
They are also much more susceptible to speed. Speed can be an important role in fatal car crashes. In 2010 40 percent of drivers 15 and 20 that were killed in accidents were in a hurry at the time of the crash (source: CDC ].
Some Good News: Falling Numbers
While the numbers of teenage drivers and fatal car crashes are alarming, the amount of teenagers who die by motorists on American highways has significantly decreased since 2002. From 2002 until 2011, fatalities of drivers between 15 and 20 year olds decreased from 3,838 to 1,987. That’s a drop by nearly 50 percent. Source: NHTSA ].
Experts believe there are many methods to help teens learn to be safe drivers. The most efficient ways is that of the graduate driver license ( GDL) program.
It is a three-step procedure that teens must complete before receiving the driver’s licence. The first stage, also known as the “learner,” stage involves supervision of driving with an adult for at least six months. The second stage, also known as “provisional,” stage, includes driving unsupervised with certain restrictions, for example, an interdiction against taking a night drive.
The final phase is free driving. The aim of the GDL program is to give new drivers who aren’t experienced with greater supervision in the first few months on road than they typically be able to (source: AAA Foundation ].
Five states as well as the District of Columbia have some version of the GDL program. Results have been astounding.
According to AAA the states have reported a reduction of 34 percent in the amount of personal injury accidents involving drivers aged 16 and older, as well as 19 percent reduction in deaths. In the U.S fatal crashes have decreased by up to 11 per cent for those aged 15 to 17 years old. [source: AAA Foundation ].
Minimum drinking age regulations have also helped slow the decline in deaths. A study suggests that the minimal drinking-age laws are in place, making it illegal for people younger than 21 to purchase or possess alcohol, have resulted in an 11 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to alcohol.
Furthermore the study, conducted from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, revealed states with stringent law against fraudulent IDs have reported 7 percent less fatalities involving alcohol in drivers under 21 years old. older.
The Zero Tolerance laws also affect. They prohibit people who is younger than 21 from driving a motor vehicle with any level of alcohol present in the system.
A study conducted in the 1990s of 12 states that had zero tolerance laws revealed that there was a 20% decrease in the number of single-vehicle and nighttime fatal car accidents compared to 12 states that had no zero tolerance laws. Source: NHTSA ].
Although the number of people affected is decreasing however, there is still work to be completed. At the very least, society is on the right track.
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Author’s Note Are teens more likely to be killed in car accidents as compared to adults?
As a teenager and you’re a teenager, the only thing you can think about being able to get your driving license.
While it’s a rite of passage, it’s also a duty. Be aware of these points when your teenager requests keys to the car. The research suggests that teenagers who believe that their parents establish rules and observe what they do with their children are only half as at risk of being in an automobile collision.
Teens who drive when they wish are twice at risk of being in an accident in comparison to those who live in cars. It seems that safe driving to be the norm for everyone.