A tragic story from the Associated Press, as carried by the Charleston Daily Mail:
A Northern California mother is dealing with a double tragedy after her daughter was killed during a weekend prom date and her son was severely injured in a car crash. Jennifer Carrigan and Steven Furtado were found dead Sunday by Carrigan’s mother at a house in Chester, about 150 miles north of Sacramento. Both were 18.
When told of his sister’s death, 20-year-old Billy Carrigan headed home from Berkeley. Shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, just before he reached Chester, Billy Carrigan crashed his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck into a stand of pine trees along Highway 36.
Read the entire article here.
The article did not mention how or why the daughter was killed, but it is a tragic story and it is one of dozens each year that illustrate the dangers of teen drivers – especially on prom night. Sadly, every year Americans hear reports of prom-goers getting into car accidents as a result of drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has worked passionately since 1980 to lower these statistics. It’s been a successful campaign, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports that drinking and driving among teens dropped 35% from 1990 to 2005.
Nationwide insurance company published a list of 12 tips for driving on prom night that every teen should read:
– Always wear your seatbelt and make sure everyone in the car does, too.
– Concentrate and drive defensively. There are likely to be a lot of impaired drivers on the road prom night.
– Have directions to the dance — even drive by the location during daylight hours — if the prom is not held at your school so you know where you’re going.
– Understand that the average vehicle weighs 3,000 pounds. It may be easy to drive, but it’s still a heavy hunk of metal.
– Never allow someone who has been drinking to drive, no matter how confident the driver is about his abilities. It’s not worth the risk.
– Remember that tired drivers are dangerous, too. If you’re barely awake, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
– Call home to get a ride. No matter what time it is, parents would rather pick you up than have you drive in a dangerous situation.
– Take your cell phone to prom so you have one in case of emergency.
– Take a spare pair of comfortable shoes with you for driving so you don’t have to hit the brakes while wearing unfamiliar high heels or bulky dress shoes.
And for parents:
– Make sure you know where your child is going to be during prom and at the after-prom parties.
– Don’t allow too many prom-goers into one vehicle. (More passengers means more distractions.)
– Consider a limo or an adult driver to chauffeur students — someone who has more experience driving at night and someone who is not hopped up on prom night adrenaline.
Read the entire publication here.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.