A young driver is a vulnerable driver. Teens have the highest auto accident rate of any age group, with a fatal crash rate three times higher than older drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Male, teen drivers or passengers are nearly twice as likely as female teens to be involved in a fatality.
A teen driver lost control of a pickup truck in September 2012, along a Will County road about 25 miles southwest of Chicago. He and a friend, returning from a trip to McDonald's, were about a mile from the passenger's home.
Homer Glen police said two males, both 16, were in the truck when the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree and overturned. The passenger was ejected and died from injuries, after being partially crushed by the flipped vehicle.
The Lockport driver was charged with half a dozen counts of reckless driving, aggravated recklessness and reckless homicide. The boy was found guilty in a bench trial and sentenced recently to a 60-day prison term. A juvenile court judge will decide, following the term and the defendant's psychological assessment, whether probation should replace imprisonment.
Reports did not indicate what caused the teen driver to lose control.
The CDC reported speeding was a factor for 39 percent of young, male drivers involved in 2010 fatal accidents. Alcohol played a role for one in four fatalities with male drivers, ages 15 to 20.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported car accidents claimed the lives of more than 3,000 teenagers in 2011. Illinois is one of several states where graduated drivers licensing programs have helped to reduce teen accidents rates up to 30 percent.
Negligent drivers of every age are accountable in criminal and civil courts. Damages for personal injury and wrongful death may apply to minor defendants and, in some cases under the state's Parental Responsibility Law, their parents.
chicago.cbslocal.com, "Teen Driver Sentenced In Fatal Homer Glen Crash" No author given, Nov. 18, 2013