On June 21, 2009, a 17-year-old Louisville teen was killed in a high-speed crash on Bardstown Road. Only a month before this, Denzel Steward received a speeding ticket that he kept as a secret from his parents. So, people believe that if Denzel’s parents knew about the speeding ticket, then Denzel wouldn’t have been in the high-speed crash. This is because his parents would have done something about his ticket and he maybe wouldn’t have been driving.
Denzel Steward Act
Now, Denzel is getting a Kentucky law named after him. Since Denzel’s death, his parents have persistently pushed for a law that notifies parents if their minor commits a traffic violation. Danzel’s mother, Shawn, mentioned in an interview that she would have revoked her son’s license if she'd only found out about the ticket. The couple’s hard work has paid off as the Denzel Steward Act is set to become a law July 2014.
Three risk factors that cause accidents
As stated in the National Center for Health Statistics, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers. The three significant risk factors in crash deaths among passengers are the following:
- Riding with young drivers
- Riding without seat belts
- Riding on high-speed roads
In 2012, 1,875 drivers aged 15-20 died in motor vehicle crashes, while 184,000 young drivers were injured, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared that in 2010, seven teenagers, ages 16-19, died every single day from motor vehicle injuries. If you’re wondering how grave the situation exactly is, picture this. People ages 15-24 make up 14% of the U.S. population. Yet, this age group already accounts for 30% or $19 billion of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% or a total of $7 billion worth of motor vehicle injuries among females, according to CDC.
It’s not too late to make sure that teen drivers learn to drive safely. One way parents can take part is by knowing the Graduated Driver Licensing system we have here in Kentucky. Kentucky has one of the highest teen crash rates in the U.S., and the GDL program’s goal is to curb the figures of crashes involving teen drivers.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I support both the Denver Steward Law and the GDL program. Young lives should not be lost in tragic road accidents. Both of these laws hope to reduce the number of lives lost to road accidents. If you're a teen, please be honest with your parents about any traffic violations you may have received. This is hard to do but it could just save your life.