Many Illinois teens believe mastering the physical skills of operating a motor vehicle is all that's required to obtain a driver's license. Experience teaches it takes a lot more than coordinating hand and foot motions to drive safely.
Knox County authorities said a 17-year-old driver was showing off his driving skills, before the teen's Jeep crashed into a car. The teen stopped to chat with friends at a Galesburg park. The driver spun doughnuts in a grassy area, before speeding out onto a nearby road. The Jeep blew through a stop sign and hit a PT Cruiser.
Investigators said the impact drove the Jeep off the road and into a yard, where the vehicle hit a tree. Three passengers in the Jeep, including a 12-year-old and two 15-year-old girls, and the two occupants of the PT Cruiser were hospitalized.
Paramedics said the youngest passenger was not breathing when they arrived. One 15-year-old suffered serious facial injuries in the car crash. The girls' conditions stabilized following hospitalization. Investigators learned some of the Jeep passengers had not been wearing seat belts. The remaining victims were treated for minor injuries.
The Jeep driver was charged with multiple counts of aggravated reckless driving and child endangerment. The felony charges carry a prison sentence of up to three years.
Teens often are more interested in memorizing road rules to pass a driving test than thinking about how the rules apply. According National Center for Biotechnology Information researchers, common mistakes among teen drivers include distraction, failure to maintain adequate vehicle distance, irregular braking and speed, and inappropriate responses to traffic controls or emergencies.
Skills, knowledge and practice help teens correct some early driving mistakes. Good driving judgment also depends on maturity, which can take years beyond the acquisition of a driver's license to attain. The careless disregard of another's safety is negligence, compensable through car accident victims' damage claims.
galesburg.com, "Charges filed in Losey Street accident" Nick Ostdick, Nov. 21, 2013