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Two teens died in separate single-vehicle car accidents on Kentucky roads on Sunday.
One wreck occurred on U.S. 62 in Anderson County, when a 17-year-old high school senior drifted off the right side of the road and then traveled back across the highway, striking a tree.
The second crash was similar. An 18-year-old Dry Ridge woman was a passenger in a 1995 Honda when her 21-year-old husband crossed lanes and went off U.S. 25, north of Corinth. The vehicle struck a tree and flipped over.
Although Kentucky officials are still investigating the cause of both crashes, the wrecks are examples of a disturbing trend in America – the increasing number of teens and young adults killed and injured in motor vehicle wrecks.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher among 16 to 19-year-olds than in any other age group. Death rates are also high for twenty-something drivers compared to their older counterparts.
One of the major contributing factors in teen accidents is inexperience. Teens are often less equipped to handle unexpected conditions on the road, which can lead to overcorrection and other driving errors that can cause serious and fatal injuries.
Many states, including Kentucky, have developed driving laws intended to help young drivers gain experience before being set free on the roads independently. These graduated driver licensing (GDL) rules give teens the chance to practice driving with parental supervision and meet certain requirements before “graduating” and ultimately getting their full unrestricted licenses.
Other practices, such as texting behind the wheel, are also common in teenage drivers. The CDC recently released a report indicating that more than half of teenagers admit to texting while driving, a practice that many states are outlawing among young and older drivers alike.
If you are the parent of a teenage driver, our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers strongly encourage you to discuss the perils of operating a vehicle and to work with them carefully during their GDL period. Drill in the importance of wearing a seat belt, and model that behavior yourself. It can save lives.