The state of Illinois has implemented graduate licensing rules in an effort to reduce the number of auto accidents involving new drivers. Part of these rules stipulate that drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age cannot drive with more than one person aged 20 or younger in the vehicle with them unless they are related to the driver. The idea is to cut down on distractions for new drivers caused by other people in the vehicle. One wonders whether this contributed to an injury crash in rural Macon county last week.
On Friday February 15th just before 11:30am, a car was traveling on Illopolis road roughly a mile west of the village of Niantic, which is about a dozen miles west of Decatur (and about a mile and a half north of Interstate 72). The car lost control and crashed, sending all three of its occupants to a hospital in Springfield. Reports indicate that all three of the people who were injured were juveniles.
Even though it appears that the juvenile driver will be held responsible for the single-vehicle accident, the article does not say whether the three minors were related. If they were not, the driver would be committing a traffic violation for transporting too many juveniles in the car with him – and the parents of the passengers may have solid grounds to file personal injury lawsuits against the parents of the driver. (Illinois law states that minors may not be named as either plaintiffs or defendants in personal injury lawsuits filed in the state.) These suits could allow the plaintiffs to be reimbursed for ambulance charges, treatment expenses, medication and physical therapy costs, and any other relevant medical charges resulting from the crash. If the injuries were serious enough, it’s also possible that a jury could award monetary damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish as well.