ATTN: USA Today: Federal Way teens weren't killed by their own risky driving | Editorial

The Mirror would like to clarify a June 21 article in USA Today titled "Teen driving risks in high gear in summer: Safety programs aimed at deterring behavior linked to more fatalities for ages 15-20."

The article itself provides a short but informative glimpse at crash statistics involving young drivers. However, in USA Today's print edition, the article is inaccurately paired with a photo of the memorial outside Decatur High School that honors Derek King and Nicholas Hodgins. These two students were killed by a suspected drunken driver on Interstate 5 just three days before graduation.

Pairing the photo with the story implies that these young drivers died as a result of their own risk-taking behavior. To clarify: The students died after a 50-year-old man with two prior DUI arrests, and a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 at the scene, crashed into their stalled Honda Civic on the freeway.

Amid the tragedy, The Mirror urges Washington state legislators to re-examine the penalties for multiple DUI arrests and make it tougher for repeat offenders to get behind the wheel.

In the bigger picture, the USA Today article still delivers a message of safety related to young drivers. And while young drivers tend to take more risks, safe driving applies to all ages.

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