The Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 232 traffic fatalities in Cook County and 121 in Chicago last year. Many of the drivers in fatal car accidents are young with little or limited driving experience. A 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found 15- to 24-year-old drivers were the most likely to be killed on the nation's roads.
A young Evanston man was driving an SUV that recently spun out of control on an icy, out-of-state highway. The 20-year-old driver was with four other male Carleton College students, just a few miles from the school's campus, when the fatal accident occurred. The northbound Toyota 4Runner spun into the path of oncoming traffic.
A southbound tractor-trailer slammed into the side of the SUV and killed three of the students, ages 20 and 21. The driver and a 19-year-old male student suffered serious injuries. The truck driver was unhurt.
State troopers said road conditions were icy the afternoon of the accident, but police haven't ruled out other contributing factors. Investigators said the students wore safety restraints and no one appeared to be intoxicated. The accident probe remains open.
The CDC report was based on research of some of the 34,485 fatal traffic accidents in 2009. The report focused on accident deaths in 50 of the most populated areas across the country. Researchers learned young people were victims of 22 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Federal officials blame some of the deaths on driver inexperience, but risk taking is a common factor among young driver deaths. Teens and young adults may be more likely to speed and be distracted while driving. Graduated drivers' license programs have reduced accidents among some of the newest drivers by forcing teens to abide by restrictions before achieving full driver privileges.
Drivers of every age owe other motorists a duty of care. Negligent drivers face consequences like criminal charges or civil actions.
Source: CBS Minnesota, "Latest News Patrol: 3 College Students Dead, 2 Injured After Semi And SUV Collide" No author given, Feb. 28, 2014