Home » Legal » Student at Lake Charles, Louisiana’s Sam Houston High School Dies Following Car Accident: Highlights Personal Injury Risk Cars Pose to Teens

Student at Lake Charles, Louisiana’s Sam Houston High School Dies Following Car Accident: Highlights Personal Injury Risk Cars Pose to Teens

Following an accident that took place late last month, a Sam Houston High School football player is dead.

Three teens were driving an SUV on Idlebrook Road on Moss Bluff, when what seems to have been a prank went terribly wrong. Two of the teens decided to get out of the SUV and climb onto the car’s roof, putting their feet on the inside of the vehicle’s open sunroof. The fifteen-year old driver of the vehicle jerked the wheel causing Kaleb Franks, 16, to fall off the roof and hit his head.

Though Franks was transported to the hospital, KPLCTV reports that he died of his injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that the greatest risk to teen safety is riding in the car with another teen driver behind the wheel. The CDC explains that 3,000 teens lose their lives every year in motor vehicle accidents. These accidents are usually due to driver inexperience. The Centers for Disease Control offers some tips on how parents can keep their children safe when they get behind the wheel or when they ride in cars with friends.

The greatest danger facing teen drivers is simply inexperience. Parents can help their children gain experience by providing supervised driving time. The CDC recommends that parents offer 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving time to their children. Furthermore, parents are encouraged to help their children practice on different road types, at different times of day, and under a variety of weather conditions. Parents can also model proper driving behavior and encourage children to scan the road for hazards, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

The second recommendation offered by the CDC is for parents to restrict the number of teen passengers their children are allowed to have in the car. The CDC suggests anywhere from zero passengers to one passenger and this should be enforced for the first six months the teen has driving privileges. In the case of the teen killed in the car accident on Moss Bluff, three teens were riding in the car at the same time. Furthermore, it appears that the driver may not have been of age to be legally driving in the state. Teens are not allowed to get a restricted license until they turn 16, and won’t be issued a full license until they turn 17. It also seems likely that the teens might not have decided to ride on the roof had peer pressure and social factors not played a role in the accident.

Nighttime driving is also cited as a danger to teen drivers. Parents are encouraged to practice nighttime driving with their teens and to restrict nighttime driving during the first six months their teens have a license.

Yet another risk factor is a failure to wear seat belts. Encouraging teens to buckle up can help protect them in the event an accident does take place. Franks was neither inside the vehicle nor was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Other risk factors to teens are risk factors to all drivers. Teens should not use cell phones, drugs or alcohol, and should be well-rested when they choose to get behind the wheel.

Finally, the CDC cites reckless driving as yet another risk factor facing teen drivers. Research has shown that teen drivers lack the judgment and maturity to assess risky situations. Clearly, in the case of Franks’s death, the teens both inside and outside the car were not aware of the clear risk factors inherent in their actions. Parents can speak to their teens about the serious responsibility they take on every time they sit behind the wheel. Teens should also be encouraged to obey speed limits and adjust their speed to match road conditions when they drive. Finally, maintaining space between their car and the vehicle in front can ensure that teens remain safe should another vehicle stop suddenly.

Franks’s death is a tragedy that no one wants to see repeated. Parents can play a key role in keeping their children safe by modeling and talking to their children about safe driving practices.