Just as new rules for teen drivers in Pennsylvania are being enacted and enforced, a young man is being charged for a car accident that killed one of his passengers.
The 19-year old driver was carrying four passengers in his sport utility vehicle at the beginning of November. He was driving south in Lattimore Township, Pennsylvania, when the vehicle went to the left side of the road, struck a mailbox and flipped several times, coming to rest in a field, according to charging documents. A 19-year-old man, an 18-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl were ejected from the SUV. The man was killed and the two young women were injured, along with a 14-year-old passenger who wasn't ejected.
The driver is charged with homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, as well as summary offenses of reckless driving, failure to use a safety belt and driving at unsafe speeds, according to court documents. He was allegedly driving more than 80 mph in the 35 mph zone when the SUV went off the road, which is on a steep hill.
The new rules for teen drivers in the state went into effect this month, and only apply to drivers under age 18. The restrictions aim to combat distracted driving by requiring teens to have only one non-family member in the car for the first six months of having their license. Other rules involve seatbelt usage and increased hours of behind -the-wheel instruction. Although the new rules don't apply to this driver, they're designed to prevent crashes just like this one.
In addition to the criminal charges against the driver, the family of the passenger who died could also decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the young women who were injured have cause to pursue personal injury suits to ensure they're compensated for any medical expenses they incurred. If he's convicted of the charges filed against him, the driver may be saddled with numerous restrictions that have nothing to do with his age.
Source: York Dispatch, "Teen faces charges in fatal Adams County crash," Greg Gross, Dec. 29, 2011