Crash involving overcrowded vehicle leaves six teens dead
OKLAHOMA CITY — Six girls on a high school lunch break were killed when their small car collided with a large truck hauling rocks. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), the girls’ car was designed to carry only four people.
The crash occurred March 23 in Tishomingo, located about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. The victims included the 16-year-old driver, three 15-year-olds, and two 17-year-old passengers, according to OHP.
The crash report indicated the exact circumstances of the wreck remained under investigation, but it did state that the girls’ car was making a right turn when it collided with the truck, according to KXII-TV.
The tragedy highlights concerns about teenagers carrying other young passengers.
“Just adding a single passenger under age 21 increases the risk of crashing by 44%” when the driver is a teen,” said William Van Tassel of the American Automobile Association (AAA). “One of the main concerns and risks of having multiple teenagers in a car is the distractions that come with that.”
Having too many passengers in a car can be a major distraction for drivers, especially newly-licensed teenage drivers. When teens start driving on their own, they simply don’t have the experience they need to operate a vehicle safely. Having to deal with passenger distractions only adds to the potential for an accident.
The J. Gonzalez Law Firm offers the following facts and tips to help improve safety for drivers and their passengers:
- Having a car full of teenage passengers is one of the major distractions for teen drivers.
- Research has shown that accident risk and the risk of being killed increases as the number of young passengers in the vehicle increases.
- More than 50% of teens that die in car crashes are passengers in vehicles driven by other teens.
- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that the risk of a crash increases 44% with one teenage passenger in the car. It doubles with two passengers, and quadruples with three or more passengers.
Tips for Teen Drivers
- Know the facts before taking the risk
- Obey the Texas Graduated License Law. It explains how many passengers you can have in the car you are driving, and when.
Teenage passengers should also remember that their behavior is just as important as the driver’s. Always buckle up, because people not wearing a seat belts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. In crashes, more than 75% of people who are ejected die from their injuries.
Teenage passengers should also avoid talking on their cell phones when possible. Don’t play the radio loudly, don’t be a backseat driver, and most importantly, do not horseplay in the car or do anything else that is going to distract the driver.
The J. Gonzalez Law Firm wants everyone to enjoy their teenage driving years, but it can be done safely and responsibly. If you find yourself injured in a car crash through no fault of your own, call us at 1-800-CAR-CRASH for a free, no obligation consultation.