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NC Mom Charged: Allowed 15-Year-Old to Drive

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 06, 2011 1:10 PM

She may have had good intentions when she permitted her unlicensed 15-year-old daughter to drive her car, but as a result of that decision, Fayetteville, North Carolina, resident Winona Marie Simmons has been charged with two counts of child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The reason?

Her daughter, who was also transporting her 10-year-old sister, caused a 5-car accident that led to serious injuries.

According to a statement made to local media, Winona Marie Simmons, who is pregnant and suffers from arthritis, was not feeling well, and had given her daughter permission to drive to the local Walmart and gas station to pick up food and medicine.

On the way, the unlicensed teen turned into incoming traffic, hitting a motorcyclist, which then caused a chain reaction that involved four other vehicles, reports WGHP.

She and her sister were both harmed.

The delinquency charge seems correct given that Simmons allowed her daughter to drive without a license, but how is such an action child abuse?

Child abuse also includes child neglect.

In addition to the provision of basic needs, the law requires that parents properly supervise their children. Child neglect often includes acts, or failures to act, that result in serious harm to the child if such harm, given proper supervision, could have been preventable.

By allowing an unlicensed teenager to transport herself and another minor to the store, Winona Marie Simmons not only gave permission to break the law, but also failed to properly supervise her children by placing them in an unreasonably risky situation.

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