The latest tragedy involving a teenage driver in North Carolina occurred early Saturday morning (August 6, 2011) and resulted in the death of one of the teenage passengers.   According to the news reports, a 17 year old girl driving a 1995 Nissan lost control and overturned the vehicle around 2:00 a.m.  A 16 year old passenger was killed, an 18 year old passenger was ejected and four other teenage passengers (aged 14-19) were taken to the hospital.

Sadly, there is more tragedy found in the story.  The driver did not have a license and according to Police, was driving impaired.  She will not only face charges for not having a license and driving while impaired, but most likely, other charges will result from the death of her passenger.

In North Carolina, like many other states, a valid state issued driver license is required by law to drive an automobile.  Based upon the driver’s age, certain Graduated Driver License restrictions may still have been in effect which would have restricted her operation of a vehicle at the time of the crash and would have limited the number of passengers she would have been allowed to transport.

Additionally, state law requires that the driver and all passengers be buckled into seat belts.  Most likely, the 1995 Nissan was equipped with air bags and it certainly had current seat belt restraints.  However, it may not have had seatbelts to accommodate 6 people.  State law also prevents drivers from driving while impaired yet this driver apparently was.

While being impaired and possibly having more passengers than the number of seat belts available were certainly contributing factors, but the cause of this deadly crash can only be attributed to poor judgment and bad decisions on the part of the driver and every passenger in that vehicle.  All the laws and safety technology were in place to protect these teenagers and keep them safe.   But the effects of personal choice as illustrated in this crash, proves you can’t legislate good judgment.

However, while the lives of these 6 teenagers may be forever changed, learning to drive does not have to result in legal issues, personal injury or death in a vehicle crash.  Teenagers are fully capable of learning how to develop Mental Skills that produce sound judgment and good decisions.  The question is, do you (as a teen or parent) believe that statement?

If you don’t, don’t drive or don’t allow your teenager to drive.  Refusing to believe teenagers can learn to use sound judgment to make good decisions means you believe their only hope is slim possibility they will survive the consequences of poor judgment and bad decisions.

If you do believe that statement, enroll today in our GRIP on Life Teen Driving Seminar and learn the keys to developing Mental Skills that will enable you to successfully Arrive Alive at every destination.  Safe driving is the direct result of learning skills and using those skills to prepare, plan and execute each drive in advance.