Abels & Annes

Two teens die in Chicago car accident after birthday celebration – Summer dangers continue for teen motorists

Two teenagers died in a Chicago car accident early Monday, just a few hours after going out to celebrate one of the girls’ 18th birthday, the Tribune reported.

The girls, who were best friends, were in a black four-door sedan that hit a tree in the 700 block of Sheridan Road in Wilmette about 2:30 a.m. Monday. Police have released few details but said three other passengers were injured in the crash and taken to area hospitals.

Both girls attended Chicago Academy High School. The Sun-Times reported that charges are possible pending the outcome of the investigation, although police have not yet publicly identified who was driving. The North Regional Major Crimes Task Force and the Cook County State Attorney’s Office are investigating.

Our Chicago injury lawyers continue to report the devastating number of serious and fatal accidents involving teenagers and encourage parents to speak frequently with their children about the importance of making good driving decisions.

In 2008, nine teenagers ages 16 to 19 died every day in motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the USA Today recently reported that young motorists face the highest risk of an accident during the summer months. Authorities attribute the increased dangers to more opportunities to drive at night, less parental supervision, more free time and relaxed curfews.

Traditionally, the hours of 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday have proven the deadliest for teens on the road.

Inexperience and immaturity are leading factors in accidents involving teenagers, although distracted driving is also of primary concern. Teenagers who use cell phones or text message while behind the wheel are at particularly high risk. Please visit our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog and share with your teen driver the graphic public service message about the dangers of texting and driving, which is airing on British television.

AAA provides the following tips and risk factors for teen drivers:

Risk Taking: Don’t do something you’ll regret for the rest of your life. Accidents don’t just affect you, they affect passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, children and families.

Unbuckled Belts: Wear your seat belt and insist that all passengers do so as well.

Speeding: Obey the speed limit. One-third of teen fatalities involve speeding.

Rowdy Passengers: Adding one passenger increases a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s chances of an accident by about 50 percent. With two or more passengers, the risk of an accident increases fivefold.

Cellphones: Focus on the road. Don’t use a cell phone or text message while driving.

CD Players: Research shows that adjusting the radio is the most common distraction for drivers ages 16 to 20.

Nighttime Driving: Crash rates for teen drivers from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. are twice as high as they are during the day.

Drinking and Driving: One-sixth of 16- and 17-year-olds killed in crashes were legally intoxicated.

Peer Pressure: Consider the risk factors before getting into a car with another driver. Is this a person you trust? Are they sober and in the right frame of mind to drive? Is the vehicle safe and are there an appropriate number of passengers?

Overconfidence: Drivers who have spent decades on the road can get themselves into an accident. Inexperience and overconfidence frequently lead to crashes when new drivers encounter unexpected or unfamiliar situations.