A 19-year-old man was sentenced this week after pleading guilty in June to a felony hit and run charge that caused a death. The accident happened on February 7, 2017 at about 10 p.m. The driver was traveling north in a Mercedes-Benz sedan on Sweetwater Road near Tyler Street when he struck a pedestrian who was crossing the street. The pedestrian, an 75-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver left the scene of the crash.

The vehicle that struck the man was located later on the night of the accident at an apartment building nearby. The California Highway Patrol located the teen driver at his home and he was placed under arrest. The teen was sentenced to a six-month jail sentence followed by three years of probation.

Teen Driver Statistics
According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, or the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens in the United States. In 2015 there were 2,333 teenagers killed in crashes. Two years earlier, 221,313 teens went to emergency rooms for accident-related injuries. These statistics average out to about six teenager deaths every day due to motor vehicle accidents in the United States.

Teenagers between 16 to 19 have the highest risk of being in a motor vehicle accident. They are three times more likely to get into a fatal crash than older drivers. Teens with passengers in their cars have an increased risk for accidents. The risk for an accident is highest for new teenage drivers within the first three months of obtaining their licenses.

Prevention of Teen Accidents
Vehicle accidents can be prevented. The CDC identified eight areas of concern as the leading causes of accidents for those between the ages of 16 and 19. These crash causes and problem areas include:

● Inexperience
● Distracted driving
● Driving at night
● Failure to use seatbelts
● Passengers
● Driving while drowsy
● Driving while impaired
● Reckless driving

Parents can do a lot to help keep their teens safe while behind the wheel. Make sure that your teen has had proper training and experience before allowing him or her to drive alone. Inexperienced drivers still require some supervision until they are better able to adapt to various situations on the road.

California has the graduated driver’s license program in place. There are three stages to obtaining a license. Stage I allows teens as young as 15 to get a learner’s permit. Prior to getting the permit the teen must complete a driver’s education program and have at least 50 hours of driving practice with 10 hours of night driving. These drivers are allowed behind the wheel only with an adult at least 25 years old.

Stage II is a provisional license. This stage is for teens between age 16 and 18. They are allowed to drive without an adult but cannot have any passengers under the age of 20 for at least one year. Drivers must have a provisional license for one year before they can obtain a full license or they may get a full license when they reach age 18.

If you were seriously injured in a vehicle accident you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver. Contact the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss the details of your case.

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