The death of a teenager in a North Carolina tractor-trailer accident earlier this month is a tragic reminder of the risks we all face when traveling around large commercial vehicles. However, like most other types of driving dangers, teens are at particularly high risk, in part because of a lack of experience and a tendency to overestimate their driving skills and abilities.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reported the Greenville traffic crash claimed the life of the 17-year-old girl after her SUV was t-boned by a big rig on N.C. 42.
Our Asheville trucking accident attorneys encourage parents to talk to their teens about the risks of poor driving habits and decisions — with particular emphasis on the inherent risk associated with driving around large trucks. A commercial semi can weigh 80,000 pounds — 20 times the weight of a passenger car. In an accident, the occupants of a passenger vehicle rarely stand a chance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration kicked off the teen summer driving program with an initiative aimed at increasing awareness around tractor-trailers. “We want everyone to be safe, but as newer drivers, teens must adhere to a few simple rules,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “They are: buckle up, don’t drink and drive; don’t speed, don’t text or use your phone, and steer clear of a truck’s blind spots.”
At the launch event in Washington D.C., teens were encouraged to give trucks plenty of room and avoid riding in their blind spots. Participating young drivers also agreed to sign a “No Text Promise.” Federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 9 of the 10 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. With an average of 16 teens dying each day in the summer, young drivers are at twice the risk of being involved in a serious or fatal car accident than at any other time of the year.
Some 4,000 young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 have lost their lives in accidents with large trucks during the past five years.
“Prom, graduation, and summer are fantastic times for youth to celebrate and enjoy. However, with these fun times come unfortunate tragedies,” said Sandy Spavone, President of the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). “Through education, enforcement, and legislation lives can be saved and injuries prevented.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports a total of 143 rigs were involved in fatal trucking accidents in North Carolina in 2008; another 81 were involved in deadly trucking accidents in South Carolina.
“Do not expect that having a driver’s license is a right that comes without responsibility or risk,” said Steve Keppler, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). “Be accountable for your actions, spread the word to your friends and parents, and help create a culture of safety. Most importantly, take the driving task seriously. You never know the impact you can have that ultimately could save your life or someone else’s.”
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact the North Carolina injury attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid.