A woman from Hampshire sustained significant injuries in a car accident earlier this week in Elgin, Illinois. According to police reports, the woman was hit by a teen driver who entered the intersection without observing a stop sign. Although the injuries were substantial, doctors indicated that her life is not in imminent danger.
But the 55-year-old driver was not the only person harmed in the collision. The impact flipped the woman's car into the opposing lane of traffic, where it hit another vehicle. The driver of that third car sustained less serious injuries, but, like the 55-year-old woman, was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Law enforcement authorities do not believe that the 16-year-old driver who initiated the crash was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the car accident. Instead, their investigation will focus on the teen's claim that his brakes malfunctioned at the very moment he approached the intersection. Police have already charged the teen with failure to reduce speed to prevent an accident and failure to obey a stop sign.
The investigation does not yet reveal whether the teen was distracted as he approached the intersection. Radios, food and cell phones in particular draw valuable attention away from the road, and studies show that teens are especially susceptible to distractions in the car. In addition, a teen's inexperience behind the wheel can be a significant contributing factor to a given automobile accident.
Just like other drivers, teens have a duty to drive responsibly. That duty includes avoiding the use of distractions that can negligently contribute to car crashes.
Source: Daily Herald, "St. Charles teen blows stop sign causing serious crash in Elgin," Paul Biasco, Sept. 12, 2012
• A number of states have already enacted legislation banning texting and handheld cellphone use. If you would like to learn more about crash victims' rights, please visit our Chicago car accident page.