Just say ‘no’

The fatal car accident was “preventable, irresponsible, reckless, stupid, selfish,” the judge said in handing the 54-year-old father a prison sentence of at least 6 1/2 years. His daughter was just 15 at the time of the 2014 crash in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

Three 15-year-olds died in the wreck. “Your failure to be a father and say ‘No’ caused these tragic deaths,” the judge told the man during sentencing.

Hopefully, the case will serve as an object lesson for parents and friends who allow young people to drive before they are licensed or allow them to drive after drinking alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control says teen drivers are less likely to correctly assess the dangers of hazardous situations and behaviors. Teenagers are also more likely to speed and tailgate, increasing the likelihood of accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Another serious problem: teenagers comprise the age group with the lowest percentage of seat-belt users.

The CDC notes that of the male drivers ages 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal wrecks, 37 percent were speeding and 25 percent had consumed alcohol.

No punishments bring back a loved one lost. But there are punishments that can serve as disincentives for those inclined to behave irresponsibly. One such disincentive: a wrongful death claim. When someone’s irresponsible behavior results in a death, a wrongful death lawsuit can hold that person accountable for their actions.