Having worked in the field of personal injury law for many years, our legal staff has seen dozens of individuals hurt or maimed as a result of bad automobile, motorcycle or commercial trucking accidents. Some of the most heartbreaking cases involve fatal accidents. For the families who have lost a minor child due to a bad traffic collision, these are tragedies beyond description. Not only from the standpoint of preventability, but also because youngsters have their entire lives ahead of them, when a child is killed in a senseless roadway accident, the surviving family members can rarely find any solace in the aftermath of such a horrible event.
Here in the United States, traffic wrecks are sadly the most common cause of death for teens, amounting to more than 30 percent of the fatal accidents that take the lives of these young people every year. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated that in 2010, car crashes killed seven teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 every single day of that year. In fact, based on the latest data, 2,700 teens died in motor vehicle accidents in 2010, and we can only assume that the figures will remain about the same for the current year coming up.
This is truly sad, because as we said, many car and trucking-related highway accidents could probably be prevented if only drivers were more aware of their surroundings and of traffic patterns, and certainly if distractions in the passenger compartment could be reduced in some meaningful way. From an economic point of view, costs due to injuries from the accidents that affect young people (those individuals who are age 15 through 24) top nearly $20 billion annually.
This is significant since that age group represents only 14 percent of the nation’s population, yet the healthcare costs related to treating their injuries equate to roughly 30 percent of the overall medical costs required following motor vehicle accidents each year. But the real price is the lives lost on our highways and byways due to driver error, unnecessary distractions and alcohol and drug impairment.
Earlier last fall, we ran across a news item that reflected the needless loss of life for our youth. According to news reports, a Woodbine, MD, teenager riding his motorcycle along a stretch of Interstate 83 crashed while making a questionable passing maneuver in the northbound lanes. The crash occurred, according to the Maryland State Police, around 4pm in the afternoon near the York Rd. exit in Parkton, MD.
Based on information from the state patrol, the 19-year-old motorcyclist was attempting to pass two cars traveling in separate lanes, known as lane-splitting to many bikers. During the maneuver, the man’s Suzuki GSX apparently clipped the rear of one of the cars, causing the biker to lose control. Based on police reports, the bike slid off onto the right-hand shoulder of the roadway and struck a guardrail. The impact reportedly threw the teen from his bike. Local EMS and other emergency responders arriving on the scene apparently attempted to lend aid to the rider; however, he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter.
According to police, witnesses to the accident stated that the teenage rider had been operating his motorcycle in what was referred to as “erratic and aggressive” manner shortly before the collision. State troopers said that they had notified the deceased victim’s parents not long after the incident.