Our hearts go out to 3 West Virginia teens who were recently killed in a collision with a fire truck. Kristyn Butcher, Kaylin Rice, and John Emmett Snow, III, attempted to pass a vehicle in the opposite direction as a fire truck traveling to an accident scene when it struck their vehicle resulting in a head on collision. The fire truck was responding to a chimney fire.
All three of these beautiful young children were just 16 years of age and students at the local Oak Glen High School. A good friend of mine, Larry Reed, lives has a stable no more than about a mile from one of these children’s residence and is acquainted with the family. Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to these children who died so tragically.
This tragedy does give us an opportunity to review the requirements of junior drivers as accidents are way too frequent for these children when more than one child is riding in the vehicle without an adult. Under Pennsylvania law, junior licensees may not carry more that one passenger under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle with them. After the first 6 months of driving with a junior license, the limit is increased to no more than 3 passengers under the age of 18 who are not immediate family members unless one of the parents or guardians are in the vehicle with them. The increased limit does not apply to any junior driver who has ever been involved in a crash in which they were partially or fully responsible for or convicted of a driving violation. The question is whether or not the limitation should allow more than one other junior to ride along in the vehicle with a junior driver. I would argue that even though the junior license permits this after 6 months, it would be a wise idea for parents to consider limiting their children to only one other child in the vehicle with them at any given time if possible. Teen drivers riding with other passengers doubles the risk of a fatal car crash and with 2 or more passengers, the risk increases 5 times that of normal –