Teens in North Carolina Accident Were Traveling 80 mph in 55 mph Zone

The five Corinth Holders High School students had departed together after their fourth day back to school. It’s not clear exactly where they were going, but we know the 16-year-old driver was determined to get there fast.
According to authorities in Johnston County, the teen was driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone on Thanksgiving Fire Department Road in Selma, N.C. When the teen entered a curve about a half mile south of a nearby highway, he was traveling too fast to properly negotiate it. He lost control of the car, which launched onto the road shoulder and then into a field, overturning at least once before striking a utility pole. This resulted in one of the backseat passengers being ejected from the car.

The ejected passenger, 16, was transported to a hospital in Raleigh in critical condition. No one in the back seat had been wearing their seat belts. The other three passengers – two age 16 and one age 15 – were also treated at the Raleigh hospital, though their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Our Greensboro car accident attorneys know crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-to-19-year-olds is three times that of drivers over age 20. The highest risk rate is seen among drivers who are 16 and 17, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

This horrific accident involves a number of risk factors we know to be dangerous to teen drivers and passengers. These include:

  • Excessive Speed
  • Rural Roads
  • Peer Passengers
  • Failure to Wear Seat Belts

It’s important to review these, especially as we begin a new school year and many new drivers will be taking to the road for a regular commute for the first time.

Let’s start with excessive speed. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports speeding was a factor in 52 percent of all fatal crashes involving a teenager behind the wheel. The problem is speeding increases the amount of time required to stop or react to an emergency.

In analyzing the effect of teen drivers on rural roads, consider that while only 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, rural fatalities account for 55 percent of all traffic deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Further, vehicle rollover rates on rural roads are substantially higher than on urban roadways.

With regard to seat belt use, the IIHS reports 47 percent of 16-year-old drivers and 51 percent of 16-year-old passengers killed in fatal crashes in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts. This is despite the fact that seat belt use is required by law and it’s known to significantly reduce the risk of injury and death.

Finally, when teens drive with other teens as passengers, the risk of a crash increases exponentially. The NHTSA reports that young passengers create a huge distraction for novice drivers, and increase the likelihood the driver will engage in risky behaviors. This is a big part of the reason so many state graduated drivers’ license laws prohibit or limit teen passengers in vehicles driven by other teens.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Johnston County teens injured in single-vehicle crash, Aug. 27, 2015, Staff Report, WRAL.com

More Blog Entries:
Report: South Carolina Crash Investigations Arduous, Highly Technical, Aug. 30, 2015, Greensboro Car Accident Attorney

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