St. Louis Teen Traffic Collisions Spike in Spring

St. Louis Teen Traffic Collisions Spike in Spring

Spring begins the most dangerous time of year for teen drivers.


With fewer responsibilities, less supervision and a later curfew, novice drivers are especially vulnerable to a crash during the warmer months. Students Against Destructive Decisions report that teens spend 44 percent more time driving in the summer than during the school year. There are also more bicycles and motorists on the road, more roadway construction projects actively underway and a heightened risk of tire blow-outs due to the heat. Parents need to take this opportunity to reduce potential risk factors and drive home the potential danger to their children.

Already this spring, St. Louis car accident lawyers have noted a spate of wrecks involving teens behind the wheel:

    • A 17-year-old driver was killed in Wright City after drifting off the road Highway D, hitting a tree stump. He was thrown from the vehicle just before it struck a tree and burst into flames.
    • An 18-year-old pickup truck passenger was killed, the driver critically injured, after the driver drifted off the roadway and struck a tree.
    • A 19-year-old was critically injured after his vehicle ran off both sides of Highway 19 before slamming into a ditch.

Also recently, an 18-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison following a 2012 wreck that killed a couple in their 70s. At the time of the crash, authorities said the teen had been driving around, smoking synthetic marijuana for hours before he blew through a red light traveling 90 mph in a 55-mph zone. That crash was the first of four involving this same driver. In two of the prior cases, authorities said he’d been drinking, and he and a passenger were seriously hurt in one instance.

It’s not so much that teens are necessarily more prone to drink and drive or to be distracted, though in some cases, that is true. The bigger issue is their inexperience.

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted a study in 2011 revealed that the majority of teen crashes occurred not because they were behaving badly, but rather because they lacked proficiency in critical driving skills. Those were:

    • An inability to “scan” efficiently enough to accurately assess the environment for road hazards;
    • Traveling too fast for road conditions;
    • Becoming engrossed in a distraction.

These are skills that can be bolstered with time and experience, but parents can also help. Start by restricting cell phone use and the number of allowable passengers. It could also be beneficial to engage in a discussion about tailoring speed to the condition of the road – be it inclement weather or the presence of construction crews – no matter what the top designated speed.Parents can also curb their teen’s risk of a crash by making sure the vehicle is in good working condition. Also, make it a point to spend time with them behind the wheel so you can observe their skills and coach them on potential deficiencies.

More Blog Entries:
St. Louis DUI Accident Prevention Focus of Alcohol Awareness Month, April 20, 2014, St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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