The mother and sister of a 14-year-old girl were killed yesterday in a three car crash in Homeland, Florida. The 14-year-old was driving and allegedly caused the deadly accident when she turned left off of U.S. 17 into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The girl’s 8-year-old sister was pronounced dead at the scene and her mother, 42, later died at the hospital. The driver was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with critical injuries. She is currently listed in stable condition.
The accident may draw attention to an issue recently raised by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration regarding the proper way to introduce new drivers to the roads. Graduated licensing laws vary widely throughout the nation. Some states allow people to drive at the age of 14. The requirements regarding training, restrictions and licensing for teens are inconsistent. The NHTSA believes that more states should adopt their recommended best practices regarding the licensing of young drivers.
The girl in this case cannot legally hold a license in the State of Florida. It is not clear at this time why she was operating the vehicle. The investigation is preliminary and it is not known whether the driver and passengers in the teen’s vehicle were wearing safety belts. There were three people in the other two vehicles involved in the accident. All three survived and are expected to make full recoveries.
Consistent training and licensing laws could help save countless lives. Teen drivers suffer a very high fatal accident rate. Car accidents are the number one cause of death in driving-age teens. While such laws may not have prevented this situation, they could help countless other teens gain the driving skills they need before being allowed on the roads.
Source: Orlando Sun Sentinel, “Mother, sister killed after teen driver crashes vehicle in Polk,” by Arelis R. Hernández, 18 September 2012