Parents, Especially With Teenagers, READ THIS!
This past weekend, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law visiting from, Australia. We were sitting at a stoplight, when right as the light turned green, and I took my foot off the brake to move to the gas peddle, the next thing I knew I heard huge boom and both my passenger and I went flying forward. In fact, in every flashback I have, I see my sister-in-law's head graze the windshield and the dashboard. If she didn't have her seat belt on she would have definitely hit the windshield.
Since I didn't see the car coming, it took a minute to grasp what had just happened. I called 911. And then, my husband.
The back of my head was throbbing. My SIL was holding her neck. Clearly in pain. We sat there. Breathing. Thankful we were OK.
A few minutes past before the driver and passenger in the car that rear-ended us walked up to check on us. Shaking and surging adrenaline, I slid out of my car, slowly.
As I walked to the back of my car to check the damage, the 16-year old who was driving the 2002 Jeep Liberty that hit us, pointed and said, "Look there's barely any damage."
All I could think was you just hit us hard, how in the world is that all the damage? Just your bumper paint on my bumper?
The kid wanted to chalk it up to a bumper tap and move on. After the massive hit I just took, no way was I going to get back in my car like it was nothing.
After further inspection of my car there was more damage to the side panels, the wheel-well and my trunk now looked slightly ajar.
I told him that the damage was too much and that we would need to call the police to make a police report. The kid-driver put his hands on his head and kept saying, "I'm going to jail." His legs were shaking so wildly, I thought they might buckle underneath him.
His friend kept saying, "don't worry you're not gonna go to jail."
I backed up the friend, "You don't go to jail for car accidents. Well, unless you've done something wrong."
I was staring at this kid, he certainly didn't look drunk or on drugs, he just looked very shaken up.
After about 30 minutes of sitting on the side of the road, an unmarked officer pulled up. He first made sure that we were all OK, offered my sister-in-law and ambulance to which she declined. He said an officer would be here in 15 to 20 minutes to take the report, and to have get our driver's license, registration and proof of insurance ready, then looked at both of our passengers and said, "you'll need your IDs as well."
As he walked off, the passenger in the car that rear-ended us said, "I'm not gonna give them my ID. I wasn't the one driving."
I honestly shrugged it off to him being a kid and didn't even think about it at the time.
After another 15 minutes and my sister-in-law sitting on the side of the road in pain, we opted to just exchange information. I wanted to get my SIL home and see what needed to be done for her. My head was still throbbing so I was happy to go, too.
Being that KY is a no fault state, I knew my insurance would cover her injuries. I called in the claim the second we got home.
To make a very long story short, I recently found out the kid possibly would've gone to jail. He was not supposed to be behind the wheel of the car.
He was driving on an instructional permit, which restricted him to driving only with a 21-year-old adult supervisor. And NO children under 18 years old unless it was family. I'm fairly certain, his passenger didn't even have a drivers license, let alone be much older than 16 either.
Even though I'm still in the throes of having my car fixed and my injuries and SIL's injury sorted out, this whole thing with this kid driving when he shouldn't have has really gotten to me.
I'm infuriated! He told us that he was on his way to drop his friend off after they got haircuts for their school dance happening later that night.
This is so not OK with on so many levels.
That child should not have been behind the wheel of the car. I should not have been rear-ended. My sister-in-law's trip to America, her first trip to America, was destroyed by a child that shouldn't of been driving. It was a Saturday afternoon!
Where were his parents?!??!
After much deliberation, I've decided to call the off-duty police officer who originally stopped to help us. Tell him what I realized after the fact, and what I should do.
Now, to the parents out there with teenage kids, especially those beginning to drive, share the story with them, and make sure they understand that laws are in place to keep everyone safe, and when they're broken things like this happen.
Parents, make sure the person your child gets in the car with has a VALID driver's licenses. Use my story as the reason why you have to check. Clearly, there are parents and kids out there who have no regard for laws, or other's safety.
And last, HIDE THE CAR KEYS IF YOU HAVE TO! Seriously. Kids are stupid and think they are invincible. Don't give them a chance to prove it to you. Make sure, unless they have permission, they have ZERO access to your vehicle.