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The driver in the Texas crash was 13; Was that a legal driving age?

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(© thodonal – stock.adobe.com)

It is common to find minors as young as ten learning how to drive in rural America. As young as a minor can reach the pedals, they can become an extra hand on the farm and move farm inputs or products from one point to another. But driving on the road is a different issue altogether.

Unfortunately, learning how to drive at an early age usually encourages young kids to get on the road or have parents send kids on errands that involve being on public roads.

News that the driver of a pick-up truck involved in an accident in West Texas that killed nine people, including himself, his father, six members of the new Mexico’s college golf team, and their coach, was 13 years old, has attracted renewed focus on the practice.

Under-age accidents are quite common

According to AAA’s William Van Tassel, it is legal for persons of any age to drive on private property. But teens that wish to drive on public roads must have attained a specific age and meet statutory driving qualifications like getting a road license.

According to statistics from the NHTSA, approximately 47 fatal car crashes and 1,057 injuries involved drivers that were 13 years or younger. Even when they have attained the legal driving age, teens are the riskiest drivers. According to DC-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s Cathy Chase, this was a worst-case scenario at its worst and illegal. Unfortunately, even the adult that would have been answerable for irresponsible actions died on the spot.

Cash Hogen, a 60-year-old South Dakota resident, and businessman, drove a ford bronco on his father’s farm for the first time at age 10. According to Hogen, he would drive from one side of the ranch to another for chores such as repairing barbed wire or delivering supplies. However, his father wouldn’t let him anywhere near a public road without his learner’s permit.

Many factors were at play

The boy’s age was not the only factor resulting in the accident; it happened on a high-speed road, and it was dark. According to federal authorities, the boy was driving a Dodge pick-up on a two-lane roadway with a speed limit of 75mph with his father sitting on the passage seat when one of its front tires burst.

The vehicle lost control, veered towards oncoming traffic, and collided with a van transporting a New Mexico college golf team. Unfortunately, the boy, his father, six college students, and their coach all lost their lives in the incident. While the accident may have occurred in a seemingly rural setting, that road can be pretty busy because of the surrounding oil fields.

Texas driving requirements

In Texas, one has to be at least 14 to take lessons for a learner’s license. At 15, they can acquire a provisional driving license to drive on the road with an instructor or licensed adult in the vehicle. But they can only drive at night when they get full driving privileges at 16.

“In Texas, a person will be granted full driving privileges when they turn 18, only after they have completed all of the state’s requirements. The 13-year-old violated laws and regulations,” says car accident lawyer Matthew E. Aulsbrook of the Aulsbrook Car & Truck Wreck Lawyers. He was too young to drive on the road, and the accident happened at night when no person without full driving privileges should drive. Unfortunately, his life, his father’s, and that of six more young people ended in the incident.


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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