Utah mom shares her son's story, hoping to curb teen driver crashes

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It's been nearly a year since the crash, but for two Utah families, not a day goes by without feeling the impact of that horrific scene in Ogden that took the life of a teenager.

Teen drivers make up just 9% of licensed drivers in Utah but 21% of crashes, according to statistics from Road to Zero. So far this year, 13 have died on Utah's roads, and 20 people have died in crashes that involved teen drivers.

Since August 2021, Lindsey Favero has made it her mission to help curb those numbers.

"It's really hard to put into words, but it's just, it's life-altering in every way," Favero said.

On Aug. 6, 2021, Favero's 16-year-old son Parker — who used to do autocross racing — jumped in the car with his best friend Rylan. At an abrupt turn with a posted speed limit of 35, Parker sped around the corner and clipped another car, sending the car into a brick wall at an estimated 85 miles per hour.

"The look on my son's face when I approached is something, I wish I could portray that, the level of impact that's had on my life," Favero said. "Because I feel like that would ultimately make a difference for parents, too."

Parker and Rylan were both taken to the hospital, but only Parker walked out.

"Having to have that conversation with your child that they took a life because of their actions is really traumatic," Favero said. "As a mom too, recognizing the impact this decision had on another mother is horrific."

Favero said Rylan's mom is behind her push to help other parents and teenagers understand the responsibility that comes from holding a license and getting behind the wheel of a car.

"The most dangerous thing that most teens do in the day is get behind the wheel — and adults," said Kristen Hoschouer, program manager at Zero Fatalities. "They need to know the seriousness of driving. They also need to know that it's good to learn and to practice and to get all that they can, because the more that they learn now, the better they'll get."

Hoschouer said nearly 94% of crashes are caused by human behavior and not weather, the state of the road, or other conditions.

Ninety percent of crashes that teens get into are within the first few months of getting their license. In fact, they are three times as likely to get into a crash within the first few months.

Hoschouer said parent involvement before, during, and after getting their license is key.

"When parents are really involved with their driving, and they understand what they should be doing and what they shouldn't be doing, they're half as likely to speed," she said. "They're more likely to go the speed limit, more likely to drive sober, more likely to wear a seat belt, and 30% less likely to get on their phones."

Having to have that conversation with your child that they took a life because of their actions is really traumatic. As a mom too, recognizing the impact this decision had on another mother is horrific.

–Lindsey Favero

Utah graduating driver licensing laws, or GDL laws, have helped with teen crashes, according to Hoschouer. Those laws include limits on when a new driver can get behind the wheel and who can be in the car with them.

She said teenage drivers are 45% more likely to get into a crash if they have a teen next to them and two times more likely to crash if they have two other teens in the car.

More than 10 months after the crash that took Rylan's life, Favero hopes her story will influence even one parent or one teen driver, even as she and her family struggle daily with the outcome of that day.

"It can happen to you," Favero said. "It's just not, it's just not worth it. It's not worth speeding and it's so important to have those conversations with your kids."

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Matt Rascon


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