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New York teen faces charges after car accident with school bus

Like many other states, New York has special rules that only apply to teenage drivers. The laws take into consideration the tendencies and level of experience of these young motorists, who may be more susceptible to car accidents. Teens may think the laws aren't fair, but a recent crash between a teen driver's car and a school bus demonstrates the need for the extra restrictions of a graduated driver's license system.

The 16-year-old boy from Brighton, New York, was driving a car carrying three of his classmates when he rear-ended a school bus last week. Although none of the four students on the school bus was hurt, the teen driver and all three of his passengers were injured. One of the friends was seriously wounded and remains in the intensive care unit at a local hospital in guarded condition.

The high school junior who caused the accident has been charged with reckless driving and a number of other traffic violations. Police said that he was speeding well beyond the posted 25 mph speed limit, failed to obey a stop sign and failed to keep to the right before he hit the school bus. He was also violating a provision of his junior driver's license that prohibits more than one passenger at a time who is under 21 unless a parent, guardian or driving instructor is in the car.

Police stopped short of accusing the boy of driving while distracted; he wasn't using a cellphone at the time, nor was he under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But the three passengers may have been enough to divert his attention away from the road, causing him to slam into the back of the bus. As a result, those passengers suffered injuries. The classmate still in the hospital is likely to have extensive medical bills his family will have to deal with. Given the violations that occurred, they may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the teen driver to ensure that those hospital expenses are covered.

So even though you or your teenage son or daughter may balk at the extra restrictions that come with a junior driver's license, it pays to remember that when followed, they may reduce the risk that you, a family member or someone else sharing the road with a teenage driver will get into a serious car accident.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle, "John Zakhary charged in connection with crash involving school bus," John Hand and Victoria E. Freile, Oct. 16, 2012

· Our firm handles situations similar to the one described in this post. To learn more about our practice, visit our Newark, New Jersey, car accident page.

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