Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Mother wants to save teens after losing her two sons

Posted by lapearce on June 24, 2009

Driving a winding road at high speed is called a canyon run and is very popular with inexperienced teen drivers who dont recognize the risks

Driving a winding road at high speed is called a canyon run and is very popular with inexperienced teen drivers who don't recognize the risks

It was 18 months ago when the crash happened. Donovon Barclay, 17, was driving his two cousins Shane Barclay, 22, and Tyler Barclay, 17 in his 1995 Saab at over 80mph through Laurel Glen Road, a winding canyon road in the Santa Rosa Mountains. What happened next would change the life of Shannon Barclay Adams, the mother of Shane and Tyler, forever.

Donovon took a corner too fast and lost control. The car flipped over and hit an embankment at great speed. Donovon suffered injuries that kept him hospitalized for several days, but his cousins, Shane and Tyler, didn’t make it out of the crash alive. Shannon explained how horrible the following court proceedings were, because she loved her nephew but wanted justice for her sons. In the end, Donovon was charged as a minor and slapped on the wrist with three months of counciling. He never appologized for the crash that killed his cousins.

Now 19, Donovon has four moving violations on his record and apparently never learned his lesson.

Shannon admits that she was not perfect in teaching her children how to drive and be safe on the road. Shane had just been in a crash prior to the one that took his life, and Tyler crashed unlicened and drunk at 16, injuring someone else. He was remoseful of the crash and served three months in juvinille hall, was on probation, and did community service.

The differences between Tyler’s consequences for injuring someone while drunk and Donovon’s consequences for killing two people for driving wrecklessly show a huge disconnect in the legal system between crime and punishment, and put driving under the influence beyond other crimes, even if the other crimes cause greater harm.

Shannon wants to help teens learn that there are other things they can do behind the wheel, other than drinking and driving, that can destroy lives and families forever. “It’s a huge misconception,” she said. “Most teens are driving with nothing more than testosterone in their systems. Parents need to be aware; it’s not only drunken driving that needs attention.”

The CHP reports that of the 25,871 injury crashes statewide in 2007 in which a teen driver was at fault, nearly 35 percent were caused by speeding and about 7 percent from being under the influence.

Shannon encourages parents to be aware of the risks, and to sign a parent-teen contract with their new driver. She also encourages parents to use technology that will alart them to dangerous driving behavior. “Honest, I’m not perfect either,” she said. “But that is what has to change; we can’t put these kids on the road.”

She is also working on a book about her teens and hopes that more new drivers will understand the risks associated with speed and wreckless driving. “If I can save just one teen, then my boys would not be lost in the carelessness of the system,” she said. “Reckless driving killed my sons. It’s an issue that needs attention.”

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3 Responses to “Mother wants to save teens after losing her two sons”

  1. safedriver said

    Are parents role models? Check out my blog… http://safedriving.wordpress.com

  2. Friend said

    I would like to aknowledge that this was a very difficult situation, however, I know that the teen does feel remorse. And secondly, rememeber that these were his two cousins that he hung out with all the time. This was not a drinking and drving accident but going too fast, the circumstances are different. Justice was served and I believe this young man is learning his lesson I have witnessed this first hand

    • Lauren said

      I can’t speak for what Donovon feels, I can only go off of what is printed. It appears that Shannon does not agree that Donovon is remorseful, however. At the very least he should apologize to his aunt for what happened.

      I have to disagree with you that justice was served. Two young lives were lost because Donovon chose to do something dangerous and against the law. The outcome was exactly the same as if Shane and Tyler were killed by a drunk driver. In both cases a dangerous and illegal action lead to loss of life, but one case is punishable as murder and the other one isn’t punishable at all. I fail to see how that is justice.

      Justice is not served when a Tyler, when drunk, caused a non-fatal crash and spent three months in juvenile hall while Donovon, sober, killed two people while driving recklessly and served no time at all. It isn’t fair. Reckless driving kills more teens than drinking does. Based on that I think the punishment needs to be equal at the very least.

      I would also like to know why you feel Donovon has learned his lesson if he has received four moving violations since the crash that took the lives of his cousins. I feel the lesson is slow down and drive safety, it doesn’t appear like he is doing that. But how can we expect anyone to learn from this when taking two lives results in practically no punishment? What is taught is, so long as you aren’t drinking it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll be let off with a slap on the wrist. A poor lesson to teach new drivers.

      If you know Donovon I implore you to try to convince him to take his car to a track event with proper instruction. Laguna Seca and Infineon are very close to Santa Cruz and both have a number of very good schools operating there. He shouldn’t do an open track day, he should spend money to go to a class where an instructor is with him at all times. This is the proper place to go fast, and it is also the best way to humble a fast driver. There is nothing more humbling to a young man who thinks he is a great driver than being passed by a car with half the power you have simply because they are a better driver than you. I’ve seen many drivers humbled by this experience, including myself. It is the safest way, in my opinion, for him to learn his lesson.

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