Teen Driver Hits Boulder Family
A 17-year-old driver struck a family as they were riding their bicycles across the street in Boulder, Colorado yesterday. A seven-year-old boy was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Doctors say he suffered serious head and back injuries. The boy’s mother and older sister were hit, but neither was seriously injured.
Police say the teen driver told them he tried to stop. Skid marks at the intersection seem to back this up. The family was crossing at the intersection and intersection lights were flashing. However, the driver told police he didn’t see the lights flashing to warn him to watch for potential pedestrians and cyclists.
At this point, there is no indication that the driver was texting or talking on his cell phone, but he may have been eating his lunch, which could have distracted him.
Authorities state that there is no law in Boulder requiring cyclists to dismount and walk across intersections, but they are required to travel at a “pedestrian pace.”
Several states have passed laws with graduated drivers licensing for teens due to risk factors linked to inexperience and age. Many of these states will withhold full licensing until the teen is 18-years-old. This means that teens who receive a license when they turn 16 must still be closely watched while driving.
In Colorado, if you are under 18, you must drive only with a drivers ed instructor, or an parent or guardian who has signed a form from the Colorado Department of Transportation called an Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship. This means the parent or guardian assumes liabilities of the teen driver.
Authorities have indicated they will be filing charges against this teen driver, but they are not sure which ones yet. Regardless, the teen stayed and cooperated after hitting the family. This is a tragic lesson for someone so young to learn, but the boy who was hit will survive.