According to a report from WSB-TV, a horrific multi-vehicle collision in North Georgia has killed five teenagers and seriously injured three other people. The tragic crash happened over Labor Day Weekend on the Georgia State Route 316 (SR-316) on ramp to Interstate 85 (I-85). The accident is still under a comprehensive investigation by law enforcement in Gwinnett County. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims, their families, and their community. Here, our Atlanta car accident attorney explains what we know about the fatal crash and discusses the heightened risk that teenagers continue to face on our roads.
Five Local Teenagers Killed in Devastating Collision in Gwinnett County
Over Labor Day weekend, a tragic and heartbreaking crash happened on I-85 in Gwinnett County. Unfortunately, five teenagers were killed in the wreck. The victims were identified as Hung Nguyen, Katy Gaitan, Ashley Gaitan, Coral Lorenzo, and Abner Santana. Three of the victims were students at a local high school in DeKalb County. Based on a preliminary assessment, police officers determined that a Toyota Tacoma being driven by one of the teens collided with another vehicle. The Toyota pickup truck flipped over the barrier and landed on the onramp below. The crash remains under a comprehensive investigation by law enforcement.
Teenagers Face a Disproportionate Risk On Atlanta Roadways
Road safety is a concern for everyone. Unfortunately, the number of highway fatalities and severe injuries have been rising in recent years. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that 42,795 people were killed in traffic collisions in 2022 alone. Unfortunately, teens—especially teenage drivers, though also teenage passengers and teenage pedestrians—consistently face a heightened safety risk on our roadways. Here are several reasons why teenagers are at a higher risk:
- Inexperience: By definition, teens are new drivers. They lack the experience to anticipate and respond to various road situations, which seasoned drivers might handle with ease. 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds face the highest risks due their lack of experience.
- Susceptibility to Distractions: With the rise of smartphones and social media, teenagers are more connected than ever. Distracted driving is dangerous driving.
- Risk-Taking: The bravado of youth can sometimes lead teenagers to overestimate their driving abilities. Overconfidence can lead to risky behaviors like speeding or tailgating. Data shows that teen drivers take more risks than older drivers.
- Lack of Seatbelt Use: According to surveys, teenagers report the lowest seat belt use compared to other age groups. This exacerbates their risk in the event of a collision.
- Impaired Driving: While alcohol consumption among teenagers has seen a decline, some still engage in drinking and driving. Drunk driving and drugged driving are dangerous.
To what extent do teenagers face heightened safety risks on our roads? According to the most comprehensive data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2,800 teenagers are killed and 225,000 teenagers are injured in motor vehicle crashes nationwide each year. To put that number into perspective, that means that teen drivers are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a catastrophic crash than older drivers.
Teenage Car Accidents in Georgia: A Parent Can Bring a Claim On Behalf of a Minor
In Georgia, the aftermath of a car accident involving a teenager can be a harrowing experience for parents. Understanding the legal landscape is vital. If a minor is injured due to another’s negligence, parents or legal guardians have the right to bring a claim on their behalf. In Georgia, a teen who is a legal adult—an eighteen year old or nineteen year old—can bring a claim on their own behalf. However, minors should be represented by a parent or guardian.
It is a legal provision that acknowledges the fact that minors may not have the capacity to navigate the complexities of processes. A Georgia car accident injury lawyer can help teens and/or their parents navigate a claim. Financial compensation may be recovered for vehicle repairs, emergency medical care, hospital bills, other medical costs, lost wages, loss of future earning power, pain and suffering, disability/disfigurement, and wrongful death damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Georgia Auto Accident Attorney Today
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, we are committed to helping car accident victims in Georgia. If your teenager was involved in a serious motor vehicle crash, we are more than ready to help. Call us now or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation. From our Atlanta office, our attorneys handle car accident claims throughout the surrounding region in Georgia.