Teen deaths occur due to other driver’s negligent actions more frequently than anyone would ever want to realize. Take 14-year-old Hannah Faith Bickley, for example.
Hannah was a backseat passenger in a vehicle involved in a fatal crash on July 31, 2014. The chilling coincidence that her brother, Brandon, 18, had died exactly nine years earlier to the day made the tragedy that much more difficult for family and loved ones to comprehend. The Bickley family had to cope with losing not one child, but two—both from catastrophic car accidents. Hannah was not even old enough to drive. She was certainly not responsible for what happened to her. So then who was?
Teen Accidents in the United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16,375 teenagers between the ages of 12-19 died annually between 1999-2006. Accidents remain the leading cause of death among teens. Two hundred and forty deaths involving teens 16-17 resulted from teen driving between January and June 2012. This number increased by 19% since 2011. In South Carolina specifically, the number of teen deaths in this same time period went from four in the first six months of 2011 to eight in the first six months of 2012. This places South Carolina with the fourteenth highest teen accident death rate in the nation.
Even when teens die in the passenger seat, there is always the possibility, and likelihood, that the driver was a teen also. While graduated license programs, such as the one enacted in South Carolina, prove to be helpful in reducing accidents involving teens, the statistics above prove that teens are not the only reason that other teens are dying on the road. Moreover, regardless of regulations for new drivers, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are still three times more likely than drivers over 20 to be involved in a deadly car accident.
So Who is to Blame?
These statistics do not suggest that teenagers are responsible for the deaths of all other teenagers that perish on the road. Nor do they suggest that the finger can always be pointed to one specific person to be the person at fault in a fatal accident. It is, after all, called an accident. However, these statistics do exemplify the shocking truth behind teen deaths, behind the wheel or not. Who was driving, how old they were, and who caused the accident will not bring back the memory of the Bickleys’ children, nor any of the thousands of other teens who die in accidents each year. Such facts can, however, bring some peace to an unimaginable situation—an opportunity to figure out why this happened and to preserve the memory of loved ones.
Let us Help
If you have been injured or lost a loved one of any age in a car accident, let the experienced attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse help you navigate your legal rights during this difficult time. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you understand your legal options and ensure you receive any compensation you deserve for your losses. We will guide you through this process so you can keep your focus on your family and moving forward.