Passenger dies when North Carolina teen driver loses control

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North Carolina teen drivers sometimes lack the maturity or experience to make sound driving decisions or understand the risks of acting carelessly. The desire for social acceptance and the influence of friends also may affect a teen's behavior, sometimes with tragic results.

A 16-year-old Clyde female recently was charged with causing a fatal motor vehicle accident. According to the Citizen-Times, the female victim was the car's owner, a 16-year-old Tuscola High School sophomore. The Waynesville accident victim was a passenger in the front seat when the driver lost control of the car on a curve and hit a tree in Candler.

Another 16-year-old was seated in the back of the car. The Canton boy and the accused driver were not critically injured. None of the teens was wearing seat belts, which North Carolina Highway Patrol said would have prevented the girl's death in the nighttime crash.

Investigators reported the driver had little experience behind the wheel and no driver's license. Troopers claimed the driver rounded the curve at a speed 20 mph above the 35 mph limit. Exceeding a safe speed was one of several misdemeanor charges against the Clyde teen, which also included a seat belt violation, driving without a license and death by vehicle.

A police sergeant noted misdemeanor death by vehicle is a charge reserved for accidents involving no aggravating factors or intentional actions. Jail time usually is not included in a sentence following a conviction. Fines are likely if the teen driver is convicted.

Accident liability claims involving teen drivers can be complicated, particularly when determining fault for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Parents sometimes are held accountable, criminally and civilly, for harm caused by minor children.

Some states have so-called Family Car Doctrines that place the blame on vehicle owners for accidents caused by family members when the driver has the owner's permission to use the vehicle.

Source: WLOS.com, " Teenage Unlicensed Driver Charged in Deadly Crash " Feb. 03, 2015