Last week, we reported on a car accident in San Diego that resulted out of alleged teen street racing. In new developments, the 18-year-old driver charged with the death of the two teenagers involved in the street racing has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter among four other charges according to reports at the San Diego Union Tribune. The news follows the earlier arrest of another 16-year-old driver that was taken into custody on similar charges.
Just shortly after his arraignment, Michael Johnson, the 18-year-old driver of a Volvo S40, said, according to his attorney, that he is not the responsible party in the tragic San Diego accident fatalities that occurred April 4.
Accident reports indicate that Johnson was returning from a spring break beach party in La Jolla when he was allegedly involved in a street racing contest with another teen driver – the unidentified 16-year-old driver of a Volkswagen Passat whose name has not been released since he is a minor. According to Deputy District Attorney Kristen Spieler, the two vehicles were zigzagging across lanes at speeds reaching up to a staggering 100 m.p.h. The 16-year-old driver in the Passat lost control over the vehicle, causing the car to flip over several times across multiple lanes of the road.
Two passengers, Anthony Foreman, 18, and Jayli Campbell, 16, were thrown from the Passat and died at the scene of the accident. Two passengers survived the crash. Charlotte McQuillen, survived the accident although she suffered serious injury as a result of the collision including reports that say the teen will have to recover from traumatic brain injury. Anthoney Taylor, 16, also survived the crash although his injuries are unclear at this time.
Johnson did not flee the scene of the accident according to police reports and cooperated with authorities once officers assessed the scene of the collision. The teen has no prior criminal record, although authorities say his vehicle was found containing a small amount of marijuana. Johnson is being charged with intoxicated driving, although his lawyer says there were no field sobriety tests to confirm the teen’s alleged intoxication.
Teen driving: reminders for concerned parents
Last week, we blogged on actions parents can take to prevent teen car accidents. Tips include:
- Sign a parent-teen contract. Download your free contract now.
- Enforcing the rules. Every teen driver needs to know that rules are there for a purpose, and when they are broken, consequences will follow.
- Have a DUI backup plan. As most parents can attest, there are many instances when teen drivers run into problems that supersede their know-how and maturity. Drinking is one of those problems. In cases of emergency, your teen should have an open-door policy where they feel safe to call you when they need help – such in the case of drunk driving or driving while intoxicated.
About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC
The Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC are specialists in car accident injury. Every personal injury attorney in our San Diego office works hard to seek maximum recovery for every injured client. Your case is handled without any out-of-pocket costs, so do not hesitate to speak to a San Diego personal injury lawyer today for a free legal evaluation. Call us at 1-800-655-6585.
A group of young drivers were involved in a street racing car accident in Kearny Mesa last week resulting in the tragic death of two teenagers and critically injuring another in what’s said to be one of the worst teen auto accidents in the area.
The accident occurred Wednesday, April 4 at around 11:45 p.m. on State Route 52 in Kearny Mesa, according to San Diego 6, when a group of three teens in a Volkswagen Passat raced another group of three teens in a Volvo S40. Both drivers lost control over their vehicles as they skidded off the road at nearly 100 to 110 m.p.h.
The three passengers in the Volvo all fortunately survived the crash. The driver of the vehicle, Michael S. Johnson, 18, of Lakeside, was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of marijuana, and taking part in a speed contest resulting in injuries, according to San Diego 6.
The two passengers in the Volkswagen, 16-year-old Jayli Campbell and 18-year-old Anthony Foreman, were ejected from the rear seat and were killed at the scene of the accident. They were not equipped with seat belts according to reports. Front-seat passenger, Charlotte McQuillen, 16, survived the car accident although she was critically injured and in a coma until Monday. Her family is grateful for her survival.
“Her father said it was like having her born all over again,” said her family representative. “We are beside ourselves, of course. However, we are cautiously optimistic at this point. … She still has a very long road ahead.”
Teen car accidents in San Diego illuminate our community’s need to further educate young drivers on the dangers of speeding and reckless driving. When a car accident occurs that could have been 100 percent preventable, the stakes and the devastation can often be at an all time high for the families of the injured and killed victims.
San Diego teen car accidents: prevention
As responsible parents, guardians, and community members, it’s our duty to help educate our young drivers on the dangers that come with the responsibility of driving. Driving is not a right, it’s a privilege. Share these tips with your young drivers and do your part to prevent San Diego’s next teen car accident.
Sign a parent-teen contract
When teens are aware of the rules, they tend to be less likely to break them – especially if consequences are instated. Download our free parent-teen contract now and set the parameters for safe driving with your teen. It’s never too late to get started, even if your teen has already earned his or her driver’s license.
Enforce the rules
Every household must have set rules in place. Consistency and enforcement can make all the difference between a safe teen driver and a teen driver that poses danger to our roadways. On your parent-teen driving contract, be sure to list 5 to 10 zero-tolerance rules that would result in the removal of your teen’s driver’s license.
Have a DUI backup plan
Needless to say, most every teenager has engaged in some kind of unsafe activity at one point or another. While it’s important to create rules and enforce them, it’s a good idea to allow your teen to get free rides when their safety is compromised in the event of an emergency – even if it involves teen drinking. It’s never okay to let your teen drink, and consequences should still be enforced, but your teen should always be able to call you in an emergency.
About Michael Pines
Michael Pines is San Diego’s Accident & Injury Prevention Expert with a running column at La Jolla Light and founder of the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC. Michael is an experienced attorney specializing in car accidents and injury in San Diego. If you have been injured in a car accident, call Michael now for a free legal consultation at 1-800-655-6585. There are no fees until we win.
Many people learn through their mistakes – but it’s often through mistakes where lessons are learned the hardest. But what if you could make a mistake – virtually – and learn from the experience without the burden of any negative consequence?
Students at San Diego Mesa College have gotten to do just that after the San Diego Police and Fire Departments held a mock DUI arrest and virtual death after students underwent a simulated drunken drive. The initiative is due in part to the 13,000 deaths related to DUIs every year.
Interested students watched with their jaws dropped as the San Diego Fire Department gave a live demonstration of the Jaws of Life, a spectacular hydraulic rescue tool that cuts, rams, busts, and wields doors open after a catastrophic drunk driving accident occurs and an injured person must be rescued.
“I thought it was really interesting, it made me realize a lot,” said Sophomore Alba Islas.
The demonstration, however, was not without its more poignant moments as Monica Zech, a Public Information Officer in El Cajon, spoke to students about her accident which was caused by reckless driving. After the accident, Zech underwent a $65,000 surgery to help her become mobile again.
“I really don’t drink but it’s still good to see and be aware of these things,” said Sophomore Caroline Andrade.
SDPD asked students to undergo a field sobriety test and handcuffed students after they engaged in the mock DUI arrest. In addition to the dangers of drunk driving, students learned about traffic violations and ticketing. “I’m here to let them have an idea of what we do,” said Officer Gabriel Espiritu. “I wanted them to undergo what the impaired driver does.”
Officer Amalia Sidhu added: “I’m helping to bring awareness of what alcohol does to the body.”
Teen driving & DUIs
Not every student is fortunate enough to undergo simulated drunk driving initiatives – but parents can help reduce DUIs in their household by enforcing their own “rules and regulations” for their teen and/or young adult drivers. Start by downloading your free parent/teen driving contract and outline the rules for reckless and drunk driving. Then, consider the following suggestions as you write your contract:
Consequences clearly defined
Discuss the consequences if a negative event occurs: speeding or traffic violations, accidents, or damaging a vehicle.
There will be a time when your teen will finally have to be responsible for their driving on their own, without intervention from parents. Make sure to determine how long the contract will last; you may consider keeping the contract valid until your new driver exists his teenage years.
An open-door policy in asking for help
Teens will be teens, so if a mistake does happen, and underage drinking occurs, allow your teen an opportunity to call you when s/he needs to. Discuss consequences later; let your teen know you have an open-door policy if s/he runs into a troubling situation. It’s better to invite your teen to call you if an emergency presents itself rather than risk a car accident.
About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC
As specialists in car accident injury, the law firm is dedicated to helping injured people collect maximum financial recovery. A car accident injury resulting from a DUI can be a complex case and our law firm can answer your legal questions for free. Call us now at 1-800-655-6585 for your free legal evaluation.
For a teenager, nothing could be more exciting than getting a driver’s license. The thrill of driving to school, the mall, and to their friends’ home are all experiences that will last a lifetime. But many parents worry as their teens hit the open road since the risk of car accidents is undeniable when less-experienced drivers take the wheel. And now in a new study from AAA, parents’ suspicions are unfortunately true: teens are more prone to car accidents within the first month of driving alone.
The study revealed that teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to sustain a car accident within the first month of licensure. After just two years of driving, though, a teen’s risk of car accident is reduced by 50 percent, which drives the point home: teens need practice, practice, practice.
After observation cameras were placed in the teen’s vehicles, researchers discovered that accidents were caused by driving too fast, distraction, or the failure to yield to other cars. Teens were much more prone to accidents when taking left-hand turns, even if they were protected with stop lights, indicating that teens need more training when making certain maneuvers.
“We know that young drivers’ crash rates decrease quickly as they gain experience,” AAA Foundation president and CEO Peter Kissinger said in a statement. “What our new study tells us is that there are a few specific abilities that we could do a better job of helping teens develop before they begin driving independently.”
Without much surprise, the cameras also revealed that teens drove much differently than with parents. Teens generally drove familiar roads on their best behavior while supervised, but as they took the open road alone, the cameras revealed all sorts of unacceptable driving habits: texting, running red lights, and socializing with friends instead of focusing on the road.
Parents: Equip your teen with the right driver’s etiquette
Parents can help teens improve their driving habits even if when they are not around by utilizing the following tools and advice.
Safety is first
Your teen needs to know that driving is a privilege and not a right. In other words, driving a vehicle comes with great responsibility. Make sure your teen knows there are consequences to unsafe driving habits, from loss of privileges to car accidents and even death.
Familiarize your teen with many roads
It’s tempting to use your neighborhood as the driver’s course, but consider opening up the range of travel so your teen can experience different kinds of driving situations. A driving school will also introduce your teen to multiple driving situations, however, your teen will clock the most hours with you. Open up the road of travel reasonably, and let your teen experience as much as possible with you as the passenger. For more challenging road travel, offer advice when needed, and try it again if you feel your teen can use the practice.
Anti-texting and calling while driving apps
There are many parental tools to stop your teen from texting and driving. Consider installing an “anti-texting” phone app which would prohibit any incoming texts while driving. Also, consider installing an app that would prevent incoming cell phone calls from receiving to your teen’s phone. A good option may be SafeCell, a popular cell phone restrictor for parental use.
If an accident does occur
Print out our car accident checklist and keep it in your teen’s glove box. Instruct your teen to carefully assess the accident if s/he can, follow the checklist, and get medical help if needed. Of course, if you teen is able, have them call you immediately. If your teen has been injured in a car accident, the Law Office of Michael Pines may be able to help. Call us today at 1-800-655-6585 for a free and confidential legal review of your case.
Most drivers know that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a car accident significantly. With many states, including California, adopting a cell phone ban while driving, texting laws have closely followed. And even despite the laws which prevent dangerous cell phone use and texting while driving, many drivers still engage in unsafe distracted driving. But now, a new study illuminates the dangers of texting and driving in findings that suggest it is even more dangerous than once predicted.
The findings come from a Texas study that calculated reactions times of drivers engaged in texting and driving. Of those studied, texting while driving doubled the driver’s reaction time. The increase in time can easily be cause a car accident to happen, including failing to recognize necessary safety precautions such as failing to stop at a stop sign or red light, slowing down for children, giving pedestrians the right of way, and much more.
“Texting while driving basically doubles a driver’s reaction time and makes the driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers, if a vehicle were to make a sudden stop in front of them or if a child was to run across the road,” said Christine Yager, a TTI researcher, who managed the study.
Most drivers who are not engaged in distracted driving can react within one to two seconds. However, those who text and drive can take up to four seconds to make a necessary driving decision – a startling amount of time for decisions that often need to be made immediately.
Reaction times slowed from one to two seconds with no texting activity, to three to four seconds while texting, the study found. The study found very little difference in response times between a driver composing a message and reading one.
“If you’re on a freeway where the speed limit is 60 in rush hour and a vehicle suddenly stops in front of you, that’s not enough time to react if your eyes are glanced down at your phone,” Yager said.
And if drivers need more evidence that texting and driving is unsafe, the study does not stop there. Those who were texting and driving “were more than 11 times more likely to miss [a] flashing light altogether.” For changing stop lights, a texting driver instantly puts his or herself at danger, including other drivers nearby.
Stop distracted driving now
Please don’t put your life and the lives of others at risk. Not only is it California law, but it’s the right thing to do: don’t text and drive! Consider the following tips to ditch the habit once and for all.
Install a text-free iPhone app
Using a text-free app will help you kick the urge to text and drive. Depending on your preference, you can opt for a texting app that reads your text aloud, or you can eliminate all incoming texts until you are stationary and no longer en route.
Make sure your teen is complying with the law
Try an app like TXTBlocker which empowers parents to track and end texting , including limiting cell phone use. There are many apps available, so parents are encouraged to shop around for the best fit for your family and teen.
Reward yourself for responsible driving
Using an app like SafeCell can actually be fun. This innovative app actually rewards drivers for not reading incoming texts or using cell phones while driving. Users can redeem earned points for cash or merchandise. SafeCell is another great text control app to consider for teens.
About the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC
The Law Office of Michael Pines specializes in San Diego car accident injury and has helped many injured people seek fair financial recovery. If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s distracted driving, call the firm now at 1-800-655-6585 for a free, confidential legal review of your case. There are no out-of-pocket costs, and our experienced legal team will guide you throughout the entire claims process. Call now, or submit your case online.