The front half of the vehicle could barely be recognized as such, following a recent single-car collision into a utility pole, by a 16-year-old driver police believe was both drunk and speeding.
Phrases like, “lucky to be alive” were exchanged by investigators at the scene, who also described the wreck as “violent.” The impact into a utility pole caused the pole to break and tore the engine from the frame of the car, which overturned multiple times before landing on its wheels.
Amazingly, the teen suffered only minor injuries and was not even treated at the hospital following the Gardiner crash. He reportedly had just dropped off a friend minutes earlier, and no one else was inside the vehicle at the time.
Our Portland accident lawyers hope other area teens see this as a wake-up call. While the teen miraculously evaded serious injury, the outcome could have been so much worse. Particularly as we approach a harsh winter season and long breaks from high school and college classes, drivers are more likely to encounter danger on the road. Not only are teen drivers inexperienced (an especially dangerous situation when the ground is covered with ice and snow), they are more likely to be distracted, driving recklessly/speeding and possibly impaired.
Any one of these could pose serious danger. A combination is likely to end in severe injury or even death.
While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the summer holiday to be the deadliest of all for teens and teen drivers, the winter holidays are also especially dangerous. Starting with the day before Thanksgiving and stretching through New Year’s Day, people in general are more likely to drink, be traveling more extensively and have more free time.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports 40 percent of all traffic-related deaths between Christmas and New Year’s Day involve drunk drivers. That’s 12 percent higher than any other day in December. While the average number of traffic deaths in a given day is pegged at around 36 at any given time of the year, that figure jumps to 45 each day during the Christmas holiday and up to a staggering 54 deaths every day around New Year’s.
The Bangor Daily News reported earlier this year on a study revealing teenagers who had been in vehicles with other impaired drivers were more likely to get behind the wheel drunk or drugged themselves. The more times they have been driven around by an impaired driver, the more likely they are to engage in risky driving habits themselves.
The Pediatrics study involved surveying 2,500 10th and 12th graders over a period of time, finding about 14 percent admitted to driving impaired themselves and another 38 percent riding in a vehicle with an impaired driver over the last year.
Study authors speculated teens who rode with intoxicated drivers came to find the idea of drinking and driving normal and acceptable.
This is where parents can play an important role in reversing that thinking. Teens must not only be advised of the dangers of impaired and reckless driving, they must also have good role models. Because teen drivers learn from example too, parents should make sure to obey all traffic laws, always wear a seat belt and never drink and drive – especially not with teens in the car.
If you are the victim of a Portland car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Police: No charges yet in “Violent” West Gardiner Crash, Nov. 24, 2014, Staff Report, Kennebec Journal
More Blog Entries:
Maine’s First Winter Storm Packs Wallop for Drivers, Nov. 22, 2014, Portland Car Accident Lawyer Blog