Two male teens from Mount Olive were killed when the 1998 Dodge Durango they were driving hit a tree in the township’s Budd Lake section near Cassedy Road. The driver, 18, was set to graduate Mount Olive High School two days after the accident, and his passenger, 19, was a graduate of the same school in 2011.
The two teens were traveling at 8:48 pm at about 64 mph south on Wolfe Road when the driver lost control of the vehicle, veered left and hit a tree. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Upon further investigation, police identified that the cause of the fatal crash were speed and driver inattention. Reports say that the teen driver had a cell phone conversation shortly before the accident. However, it’s not yet clear to investigators how soon the driver lost control of the vehicle after the phone conversation ended.
During the Mount Olive High School graduation two days after the tragic accident, some graduates honored the car driver’s memory by chalking on their graduation caps’ underside the letters N.N., the initials of the driver’s name.
Distracted driving occurs when the drivers’ attention is taken away from their driving task. The development of new in-car technology and widespread use of cell phones among drivers garnered more attention in the recent years due to the dangers they bring. The three main types of distraction are taking the eyes off the road, the mind off what the driver is doing and the hands off the wheel. Texting while driving combines all three distractions.
According to a study, cell phones are the primary source of distracted driving. Automobile accidents due to cell phone use can be serious and even fatal. Drivers not focusing their attention on the road may result in catastrophic accidents. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 448,000 individuals suffered injuries and 5,474 were killed in automobile accidents in the U.S. due to distracted driving.