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San Francisco high school mourns death of a teen driver

A 16-year-old high school Junior is one of the San Francisco area’s most recent fatal car crash victims. The incident took place in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. The driver was reportedly driving to nearby Lincoln High School, in San Francisco’s Sunset District, with his sister and mother, when a speeding, silver Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle collided with the family’s minivan. According to witnesses, the family was waiting at a red light, when the Mercedes careened down the road, failed to slow down, and rear-ended the minivan, which flipped over in the roadway. The only fatality that resulted from this accident is that of the teen driver. His sister and mother were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries, which were described as critical. The driver of the SUV was not seriously injured, and managed to climb out of the wreckage, moments after the accident. Police report that they estimate the driver of the SUV to have been traveling as high as 80 miles per hour when it went around a bus, and struck the van at the stoplight. The police spotted the speeding vehicle, but did not have enough time to stop it before the collision. Witnesses described the scene as “horrendous,” as both vehicles were in pieces.

A high school in mourning

ABC7 News reports that word quickly spread at Abraham Lincoln High School that one of their students was in a fatal car crash. Other students reported that they heard a junior or senior had died in the crash, but it took some time to learn the identity of the person. A classmate of the deceased driver learned about it when they noticed an empty seat in the classroom. Students described the victim as an avid bicyclist, and an active member of the JROTC Drum Corp. A makeshift memorial appeared at the crash scene.Less than a week later, the school held a memorial service for their deceased classmate, where his father spoke publicly for the first time since the accident. In his speech, he choked back tears, and asked for prayers for his wife, who was still in a coma. He, as well as family and friends struggle to make sense of what happened.

Teen drivers are at a higher risk for vehicle-related fatalities

According to 2010 statistics from the Center for Disease Control, seven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries, totaling about 2,700 throughout the year. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. While the San Francisco teen was not at fault, and little could be done by him to prevent his tragic death, the CDC urges the public that teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. The CDC urges parents to participate in graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs with their children, which are designed to delay full licensure while allowing teens to get their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions, and are associated with reductions of 38 percent in fatal crashes among 16-year-old drivers.

If you or a family member has been involved in a car crash, seek the assistance of an experienced attorney, who can explain your rights, and help determine if you might be eligible to recover for your injuries or property damage.

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