Learning to drive while young is part of a teenager’s social life so learning to drive properly is important. In an unfortunate accident, a Carter County teenager died after crashing into a tree last Saturday. Lewis J. Fankell, 17, of Grayson died after his lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree on the side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Carter County Deputy Coroner Ronnie Wallace.
Kentucky State Police reported that Fankell was driving his Pontiac Firebird on Ky. 1444 (Mayhew Flats Road) when he lost control of the car, which travelled over an embankment and hit a tree. According to the police, the accident happened shortly before 3:30 pm.
The police are conducting an investigation in Fankell’s death. Police do not suspect alcohol usage; but seat belt usage has not been determined because of the severity of the collision.
The investigation is assisted with the Carter County’s Sheriff’s Department, Carter County EMS, Grayson Fire Department and Carter County Coroner’s Office.
Motor vehicle accidents remain the major cause of death for teenagers in the United States.
According to the latest report of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Kentucky is among the states with the highest number of deaths for the first six months of 2012. Kentucky obtained 12 deaths while the other states are Indiana (16), Tennessee (16), Louisiana (15), Texas (14), Alabama (12), and Illinois (12). The report has revealed that the number of 16- and 17-year old driver deaths in the United States increased for the first six months of 2012- from 202 to 240, 19 percent higher than in the first six months of 2011.
Kentucky Graduated Driver License Law
Inexperience, immaturity, drunk driving, speeding, usage of drugs, and more are among the causes behind the alarming status of teen driving accidents. To address this problem, Kentucky enforces its Graduated Driver Licensing Law. This includes the following components:
- Have a minimum age of 16 to get a learner’s license
- Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months and a minimum supervised driving time of 60 hours (10 of which must be at night) to get a license or restricted license
- License holders younger than 18 must complete a driver education course or a state-sponsored traffic school.
- Nighttime restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage- from midnight to 6am
- Passenger restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage- no more than 1 passenger younger than 20 unless supervised by a driving instructor
Kentucky laws strictly implement restrictions on teen drivers but parents can also play an important role in helping their teens realize the consequences of irresponsible driving. Parents must talk about seat belt usage, the danger of texting while driving, and the effect of driving after drinking alcohol.
Fankell’s death is indescribably painful for his parents, family, and friends. I would like to send my deepest sympathy.