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Ohio accident reminder of dangers of the road

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

States across the country have implemented graduated driver's license programs for teens for two reasons.

One, young people need to gain driving experience in a supervised setting, and two, we hope teens will gain more maturity and judgment to understand the dangers they face on the highway.

Unfortunately, a tragic accident in Ohio this weekend underscores what can happen when young drivers do not develop that respect for the road.

Six teens died in the crash near Warren, Ohio, on Sunday. Eight friends were packed into a stolen SUV that flipped when the vehicle sped into a dangerous curve, smashed through a guardrail and into a pond. The 19-year-old driver, who was among those killed, had no valid license, and the vehicle was believed to be going as fast as 80 mph on a 35 mph stretch of road.

The two survivors, one 18 and the other 15, crawled out of the Honda Passport, which landed top down in the pond and was filling with water. All of the young people were friends, and the accident has sent shockwaves through their close-knit, working class community.

Although many questions remain to be answered, the incident appears to have a been just a "joy ride" gone wrong.

Teen highway deaths are on the rise again, and the Ohio accident along with recent teen-driver crashes in Texas and Illinois are horrible reminders that poor choices can have fatal consequences. Parents and guardians need help young drivers understand that highway safety and responsibility are a crucial part of growing up.

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