As ever parent learns, from the day your first child is born one’s mind is switched into what we might refer to as “constant worry mode.” This is not a choice that most parents have, instead it is an inevitable part of having children and being responsible for them throughout their developing years and on into young adulthood. While it is true that when kids become adults, responsibility for their actions actually shifts to the children themselves. But the worry and concern for the health and welfare of one’s offspring tends to continue ad infinitum.
As anyone who has kids will heartily agree, there is no good age at which a parent’s concern for their child’s wellbeing subsides; but there are milestones of actual increased worry. These usually include first days at preschool, elementary school and, one of the biggest, the day your child begins to drive by themself. Setting a teenage driver out on the road of life can be an unnerving time for any parent, not only because of the potential increase in insurance premiums, but also the chance for a child’s injury and death. It’s not something any parent or guardian wants to dwell on. But the chance does exist.
It’s a fair bet that most mothers and fathers become somewhat desensitized to the constant threat of physical injury that a young and inexperienced driver can be exposed to. The problem these days is that many more distractions exist for our kids, what with electronic devices like iPods, iPhones and other smartphones, even the radio and other advanced controls in cars these days can divert an inexperienced driver’s attention at the wrong time.
Receiving a call from the local police department or having a patrolman knock on your family’s front door can send cold waves of fear coursing through a parent’s veins, awaiting the last thing any mother or father ever wants to here, “Your child is seriously injured in a hospital emergency room.” We won’t even address the ultimate fear, as it is too tragic to even contemplate.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff know that young drivers are over represented in the actuarial tables and traffic accident statistics. Whether here in the Baltimore area, across in the District of Columbia, or anywhere else across the country, the odds of a teenage operator of a motor vehicle being hurt in a collision with a commercial delivery truck, injured in a motorcycle accident, or killed in a head-on highway wreck are greater for these young drivers than almost any other group.
We were unfortunately reminded of this kind of scenario when scanning the news not long ago. According to reports in the news, young lady from Forest Hill, MD, was killed when the vehicle that she was driving went out of control along a stretch of Rte 152 near Old Joppa Rd. in the Fallston area. Based on information from the police, the 18-year-old victim’s Saturn was going northbound on 152 when for some reason it veered across the centerline, grazing a Toyota coupe in the oncoming lane.
Based on reports, the Saturn apparently continued in the southbound lane striking a Chevy Suburban SUV head-on. The force of that second impact caused the sport utility vehicle to catch fire in the road. Fortunately, the Suburban’s two occupants were able to escape from the flames, which quickly covered the entire vehicle even before emergency responders arrived on the scene.
Sadly, the young woman in the Saturn died from her injuries as a result of the crash. According to police and other reports, the two SUV occupants were transported to local hospitals with what news articles described as non-life-threatening injuries. The driver in the Toyota was not hurt in the incident, according to authorities. There was no mention in early news articles whether or not the car had a mechanical problem that may have caused the three-car wreck. At the time of the news reports, police were still investigating the accident to search for clues as to the cause or causes of the deadly crash.
Fiery crash kills Forest Hill teen, ABC2News.com, August 14, 2012