Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity has settled a lawsuit with the family of one of four college students killed in a fatigued driving accident. The accident caused the death of four students, resulting in a lawsuit in 2005, which settled in September.
Our Boston car accident lawyers know fatigued driving is one of the top causes of fatal auto accidents. Unfortunately, college students who are out spending time with friends and who have late nights may fall victim to injuries or even become involved in fatal accidents because they drive with an overtired driver. College students need to be very careful about who they get into a car with, and organizations such as fraternities need to take some responsibility for ensuring that young college students aren’t put at risk when being transported home from activities and special events.
Fraternity Held Responsible for Wrongful Death
The lawsuit settled by DKE arose from a 2003 accident in which nine students were packed into an SUV when returning from a fraternity event. The driver of the vehicle was a member of the fraternity and the Boston Herald reports that he was sleep deprived because of the fraternity’s “hell-week” events that were going on to haze new pledges.
The driver lost control of the SUV and slammed into a tractor-trailer that had earlier been involved in an accident. The 20-year-old driver was killed instantly and three other passengers also lost their lives. Families of the injured students sued the fraternity, as well as two construction companies and the state Department of Transportation. The case against the construction companies settled, and now the fraternity has settled with one family as well.
The fraternity settled because it may have been responsible for the failure of its leaders to provide safe transportation home from the DKE event. The driver’s fatigue as a result of the fraternity events was also a potential factor making the frat liable for the wrongful deaths that occurred.
College Students Need to Exercise Care to Avoid Auto Accidents
This accident was one of many that affect young people who are away at college for the first time. Accidents among college students can occur not only because of fatigued driving, but also because of drunk driving and distracted drivers as well. College students are still relatively young and may lack sufficient driving experience to avoid dangerous situations. These young people may also be prone to risk-taking, like driving while drunk, and may not be aware of some of the grave dangers associated with certain driving behaviors such as distracted or drowsy driving.
Parents should talk to their kids before they head to college about the importance of being careful who they get into a car with. Young people who are out celebrating or having a good time with friends also need to make sure they don’t pack too many people into cars, don’t violate road safety rules, and don’t get into the car with someone who is not safe to drive.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic collision, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777 today!
More Blog Entries:
Massachusetts Traffic Safety Watch: Autumn Risks Behind the Wheel, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 16, 2013