TV 10 and Wavy.com News reported on December 15, 2013 that an 18-year- old lost control of a 1998 Lexus while he was driving on Interstate 264 near Norfolk, Virginia. According to the Virginia State Police, the driver ran off the road and ran into a tree, killing the passenger. Both the driver and passenger were 18. The driver, who was taken to the hospital did not sustain any serious injuries. The Virginia State Police ruled out alcohol as a factor. One comment on the 10 Way.com site pondered “Why does the passenger die more often than the driver?” As difficult and tragic as it is to talk about such things, the answers to this question are many:
1. The driver is in control of the car and, unless they’re an extremely self-sacrificing person, will naturally steer and maneuver to protect himself or herself rather than any others. The driver will normally anticipate the crash more than the passenger.
2. The driver has to keep his or her eyes on the road. A passenger can relax by looking to the side, talking, playing with a laptop or just sleeping. The anticipation will allow someone a better chance to glue themselves to their seat than someone, a passenger, who isn’t looking out.
3. The steering wheel offers some protection to the driver. The passenger is more likely to fly into, and often through, the windshield.
4. Drivers are more likely to use their seatbelt. In some newer cars, the car won’t start unless the driver buckles up.
Additionally, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics show that the presence of teenage passengers increases the risk of a fatality in a car accident. According to the CDC, the death rate for males between 16 and 19 is twice that for female drivers in the same age group. Both the driver and passenger were teenage males fitting directly into the CDC fatality risk criteria.
Contact Norfolk attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., by calling (888) 694-1671 or contact him online at www.JoeMillerInjuryLaw.com if you’ve been hurt or someone you know has died in an accident. He represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims, and is ready to put his considerable experience handling these types of cases to work helping you and your family.