In our last blog post, we discussed some of the efforts that have been made to keep novice drivers — and those who share the road with them — safer. One such effort is the use of the Graduated Driver License Program in Tennessee. In accordance with this program, new drivers are gradually given more and more responsibility in terms of when and how they can operate a motor vehicle.
In many cases, this program works as it should. Young drivers can practice driving but only under certain conditions until they are more familiar and comfortable with driving. They gain valuable experience and knowledge but are not just turned loose on the streets of Tennessee. Unfortunately, the restrictions of this program can only go so far. Ultimately, it is up to the child and his or her parents to comply with these rules. If and when someone fails to do this, the consequences of a resulting car crash can be devastating.
Recently, for example, a 15-year-old driver was arrested and charged with several offenses following a late-night joyride. Sources indicate the young driver was alone in a car just before 1:30 a.m. when a police officer noticed he was driving erratically and conducted a traffic stop. In an attempt to evade the police, the young man fled the scene only to crash his vehicle into a building.
Thankfully, the driver was the only one injured and his injuries were not life-threatening. Now he is facing charges related to evading police, joyriding, curfew violation and reckless endangerment.
From the details available, it seems safe to assume that the young man should have never been driving in the first place. According to graduated license restrictions, he is not old enough to have anything except a learner’s permit which prohibits him from driving late after 10 p.m. and without an adult, both of which he was doing at the time of the accident.
Had another person been injured in this accident, it would have been possible for the victim to file a personal injury claim against the driver’s parents, who take on the responsibilities of covering any damages caused by the teen as part of the graduated license program.
Source: The Tennessean, “Teen faces multiple charges after crash into Franklin store,” David Yunker, May 7, 2015