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Teen driver, police officer involved in Maryland crash

A two-car crash in Columbia sent a Howard County police officer to the hospital earlier this week. The crash also involved a teenage driver who, authorities believe, caused the accident by not obeying traffic signs. The accident reflects the concerns of many who believe teenagers are too young to drive responsibly.

Howard County police said the car crash occurred when a police car was on patrol on Freetown Road near Quarterstaff road at about 6 p.m. A van then entered the intersection and struck the squad car. The 26-year-old officer was trapped in the car and had to be taken to Howard County General Hospital for treatment after he was released.

The driver of the van was a 17-year-old who was carrying two passengers; a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old. None of the three were injured. Although the investigation is ongoing, police believe at this point the 17-year-old did not stop at the intersection.

Teenage drivers are coming under increased scrutiny by lawmakers across the country for their purported bad driving habits, like texting or carrying too many passengers at once. Some states are even considering raising the age limit at which a driver can obtain a license. Others, however, claim that saying all teenagers are bad drivers is a generalization and a stereotype.

Maryland drivers who are injured as the result of another person's negligence can seek recovery for medical bills and receive compensation for lost wages or disabilities they incurred as a result of the crash, but of course most people would prefer not to be involved in a car accident in the first place. What are your thoughts? Are teenage drivers unsafe and thus a source of car accidents, or is that an unfair and ageist view?

Source: WBAL-TV, "Car Crash Sends Howard Co. Officer To Hospital," 22 June 2011.

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