Seatbelt Safety: Deadly Teen Accident in Howard County

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.


With prom and graduation season in full swing, the worst has happened for a Howard County family: losing their 18 year old son. Garrett Bonin of Howard High School was about to wrap up his senior year with prom one night away and graduation just weeks away. Sadly, Garrett did not survive from a car crash Friday night as his car overturned on Old Frederick Road while driving home from a friend’s house. Police say speed was a factor in the accident, as well as the lack of using a seatbelt. Normally, Police in these types of single-car accidents expect alcohol to be a factor, but that was not the case here.

There is never a good time to lose a child in an accident, but it is even more devastating when it happens so close to major life events: high school prom and high school graduation. This tragedy might have been avoided if a seatbelt was being worn. Drivers are constantly reminded about wearing seatbelts in the car and the life-saving benefits of using them. Not only is it required by law, but it should be second-nature to get in the car and put your seatbelt on. Again, we want to remind teenage drivers, as well as all other drivers on the road to use your seatbelt in the car. There have been several accidents over the last few weeks where drivers or passengers in the car have been killed in a crash because they were not wearing their seatbelt. Tragedies such as this one can easily be avoided with something as simple as wearing a seatbelt. No family should have to go through losing a son, daughter, brother, or sister so close to a milestone in life just because a seatbelt was not being worn.

For Garrett’s family and friends, this is such a devastating loss. Garrett’s sister, Elise, plans to accept his diploma at graduation in his honor.

Please, let’s avoid another deadly teen accident where a seatbelt is not used. Parents, remind your teen drivers to use a seatbelt in the car. Seatbelts can save lives. Data from Maryland shows that around 91% of all drivers wear a seatbelt. Compare that to only 78% in Virginia. These statistics should be much closer to 100% because seatbelts have been proven to reduce the risk of serious injury in an accident by half.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car, truck, or bus accident or has died as a result of their injury suffered in a Maryland crash due to the negligence or fault of another driver, please call us at (301) 854-9000 to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation in our Columbia office or one of our other offices located throughout Maryland, or visit us online to learn more about car accidents at: