There has not been given any cause for the late September accident that claimed the life of one West Haven, Conn., teen and injured three others. Police officers say the teens were headed to the mall where the driver, 18-year-old AJ Cedillo, had a job interview. Cedillo lost control of his Subaru and hit a utility pole on Indian River Road in Orange.
Some parents of area teens say they have used the accident as an opportunity to talk to their children about distracted driving. Not just text messaging or cell phones, but about the distractions passengers, the radio and multitasking can pose to young drivers who don't have much experience behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. This particular accident fits two of the CDC'sthree highest risk factors for teenage driving, including:
- Male at the wheel: The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers age 16 to 19 is nearly twice that of women.
- Teens driving with teen passengers: The crash risk for teen drivers increases with the number of teen passengers.
- Newly licensed teens: This was not a factor in the West Haven accident, because the driver was 18. Teens have an elevated crash risk in the first few months of driving.
Getting a license or a car is a great opportunity to sit down and talk to your kids about how to be a safe driver and to set rules. Connecticut auto injury attorneys recommend Distraction.govas a great resource for parents to use to inform their kids about distracted driving. The website also has a pledge you can print to have every member of the family sign to commit to driving distraction-free. It recommends setting a good example for your kids by putting the cellphone in the glove compartment every time you drive.
Lastly, familiarize yourself and your new driver with graduated driver licensing laws in Connecticut. These laws place additional restrictions on young drivers as they gain this new responsibility and skill set. These restrictions are lessened by age.
If you've been the victim of a distracted driver or you believe texting and driving was a factor in your auto accident claim, call the experienced attorneys at The Pickel Law Firm for a free consultation on your case.