Friday, July 15, 2011

WARNING: Teens Driving


Ask any teen made to pay his or her own car insurance and they will tell you: it’s expensive!!

Since insurance is all about risk, these high premiums indicate the problem. Drivers aged 16- to 19-years-old are far more at risk for accidents than any other age group. In fact, for each mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are almost four times more likely than other drivers to crash than many other age groups.

Is it an urban myth that male teen drivers are in more accidents? No. The insurance rates are set in part by statistics from real crash data. The car accident death rate for teen male drivers and passengers is more than one and a half times female teen driver (19.4 killed per 100,000 male drivers compared with 11.1 killed per 100,000 female drivers). This does not mean that boys are worse drivers. Teen girls cause a lot of accidents. But the boys test themselves at much higher speeds on average.

This year we will lose over 5,000 teens ages 16 to 20 in car crashes. Almost 400,000 drivers age 16 to 20 will be seriously injured in these accidents in the same time! This is about the entire population of metro Knoxville, Tennessee, hurt every year.

Alcohol is a serious problem. In one reported survey, almost 30% of teens reported that just within the previous 30 days, they had ridden in a car with a driver drinking alcohol. Many rural teens grow up drinking and driving through the country on weekend nights. More than half of teen deaths from car crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 54% occurred on weekends: Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It is only a matter of time until there is a crash. Unfortunately, the inevitable crash is almost always at high speed. In fact, 23% of drivers age 15 to 20 who died in car crashes had a Blood Alcohol Reading of 0.08 or higher.

The “Immortality Complex.” Teens are also more dangerous because they do not intrinsically understand that they can actually be hurt or die. This minimizes seat belt use. It was found that with teen drivers killed in auto crashes after drinking and driving, a full 74% did not wear a seat belt.

Jeff Foxworthy is credited with a relevant quote. He says the last words of many a redneck are, “Hey guys, watch this!” The stereotype of the daredevil male teen driver, with a beer between his legs, the stereo blaring and a back seat full of friends rocketing through the curvy rural roads at night at 85 mph are supported by common experience and crash statistics.

Recent changes in Tennessee law limiting passengers for beginning drivers are hoped to reduce the tragedies. In the meantime, new technology that reads and reports speeding to parents remotely might hold some promise.

But for us parents, there will be a lot of sleepless nights.

Mr. Peel is a local attorney who practices in the areas of Accident, Injuries, Malpractice and Nursing Home Neglect. Mr. Peel often addresses churches and clubs and can be contacted through, wherein other articles can also be found.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Casey Anthony Verdict

Casey Anthony Trial

While my law practice is limited to injury, civil, and malpractice cases, so many folks have asked me about the Casey Anthony criminal case that I feel I should address it.

The jurors wanted the story! They always want the story. Since we were all little children, we have been told fairy tales, nursery rhymes and bedtime stories. We have all watched far too many television dramas, videos and movies. If you have read Shakespeare, enjoyed a novel or have been to the theater, it is basically the same sequence. They all have a beginning, characters and a plot. Virtually all of them have an action sequence with good guys and bad guys in some conflict. They certainly all have an ending.

The little Anthony girl’s remains were only skeletal by the time they were finally found. As a result, scientists were unable to tell the jury how and exactly when she died. The jury wants to know how and when she died. Those are important elements of the story. While it may not technically be needed to convict, the jurors usually at least want a workable theory on those points.

If you are like me, it is beyond infuriating that the mother’s own failure to report the missing child and her own lying is what gave enough time for the remains to fully decay! (It makes me angry all over again just to type it). In a sense, even though she was convicted of lying, it appears she still has benefited from it.

It brings to mind the O.J. Simpson trial for many. There is still no question in my mind that he killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Unfortunately, the story of an alleged racist cop planting evidence (including the infamous glove) was what prevailed.

But when I think about the Simpson trial, I recall a different set of events. After his ex-wife was found murdered, he led police on a slow chase in the white Bronco, carrying a gun, money and a disguise. That is unreasonable unless he was guilty. Innocent ex-husbands rarely act like that when an ex-wife was killed.

The story that will likely be remembered in the Casey Anthony case is about a monster of narcissistic mother who got away with murder.

What do you think?

Mr. Peel is a local attorney who practices in the areas of Accident, Injuries, Malpractice and Nursing Home Neglect. Mr. Peel often addresses churches and clubs and can be contacted through, wherein other articles can also be found.