Texas golf team crash: Was 13-year-old driving truck that collided with University of the Southwest bus legal?

Lyle Ellerbee
ANDREWS, Texas — From the logging roadways of the Pacific Northwest to the farm place of the Excellent Plains and further than, it really is not uncommon for men and women in rural sections of the U.S. to understand to travel when they are young, sometimes even just before they achieve their teens.

The video highlighted is from a preceding report.

But the information that a 13-year-aged was at the rear of the wheel of a pickup truck that blew a tire and struck a van on a dim, two-lane street in West Texas on Tuesday night time, killing nine men and women – including six associates of a New Mexico college’s golf groups and their mentor – place a renewed concentrate on the practice.

Linked: 13-12 months-outdated was driving truck in fiery crash with College of the Southwest bus, NTSB says

At a news meeting in Odessa, Texas, on Thursday, Nationwide Transportation Security Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said the potential risks of underage driving set it on the agency’s “most-wanted listing.” Investigators have not however stated why the teenager was behind the wheel right before the crash, which also killed him and his 38-12 months-previous father in the truck.

Along with drunk and distracted driving, Landsberg explained “youthful driving” and excessive velocity on rural roadways are between the challenges that make highway driving the most unsafe form of transit in the United States.

“Every two days we are killing the equal of a Boeing 737 crashing,” he reported, referring to freeway fatalities from multiple causes. “It really is lengthy overdue that we get started to do something about it.”

Lawful DRIVING AGE Varies BY State

Funds Hogen, a 60-12 months-outdated who operates a kitchen area and hardware retail outlet in Pierre, South Dakota, recalled finding out to drive a Ford Bronco “as shortly as my ft hit the pedals” – likely all over age 10. He’d travel the two-keep track of roadways across his family’s ranch in western South Dakota to fix barbed-wire fences or for other jobs.

But his father often stressed security around autos and informed stories of horrific tragedies to travel property the hazard.

“Less than no situation would I be out on a public highway without the need of my learner’s permit,” he claimed.

Though it is really lawful for people today of any age to travel on private house, these types of as farms or ranches, community roads in which some others are at risk is yet another subject, explained William Van Tassel, the manager of driver training packages for AAA’s national workplace.

Each individual U.S. point out has some sort of graduated driver’s licensing plan, by which teens as youthful as 14 can start getting driver’s instruction lessons or start driving with an teacher or guardian, he explained. Finally they obtain extra independence, currently being permitted to travel on their possess or at night, right up until they have whole privileges.

“Absolutely in rural areas there’s a typical pattern of reduce bare minimum driving ages,” Van Tassel reported. “We see a whole lot of teen drivers have driving encounter by the time they come to a formal driver’s instruction study course simply because they have been driving vehicles or tractors or other cars on the farm. But when it arrives to general public roadways, the regulations are very apparent: You can’t be out there till you happen to be lawfully eligible.”

According to National Freeway Website traffic Basic safety Administration details, there had been 47 deadly crashes and 1,057 harm crashes in 2020 involving drivers 13 or youthful.

In 2019, the fatality rate for every 100 million motor vehicle miles traveled was 1.9 times larger in rural areas than in city regions.

PERMIAN BASIN SEES Large Site visitors ON RURAL Roads

The trigger of Tuesday’s crash in Andrews County, Texas, in the vicinity of the New Mexico border, was not crystal clear, but federal authorities stated Thursday that the 13-12 months-aged was driving a Dodge pickup on a road with a 75 mph pace limit when its front remaining tire, a spare, blew out.

The truck veered across the center line into an oncoming transit van carrying the golfing group from the College of the Southwest, in Hobbs, New Mexico. The boy and his father were killed, along with customers of the golf groups and their coach.

Investigators have not nevertheless established why the boy was guiding the wheel, Texas Department of Community Security Sgt. Steven Blanco stated Friday.

Though the region is rural, the bordering oil fields of the Permian Basin that crosses from West Texas into New Mexico mean the visitors can be everything but, local inhabitants mentioned.

Gib Stevens, 57, of Hobbs, sales opportunities trucking operations for an oilfield servicing corporation. He stated he himself started driving vans at age 12 on dairy farms and peaceful farm streets, but he said the highway wherever the incident occurred was plainly unsafe.

“For a 13-year-outdated to be driving that road, that was dumb,” Stevens claimed. “These roads are all oil traffic.”


In Texas, a single must be 14 to commence classroom instruction for a learner’s license and 15 to obtain that provisional license to push with an teacher or licensed adult in the car. Office of General public Security Sgt. Victor Taylor claimed it would be illegal for a 13-year-old to generate on community roadways.

Van Tassel observed that the crash concerned numerous risk things moreover the youth of the driver: It happened at night and on a road with a higher pace restrict when the spare blew.

Additional, teenage boys are just one of “the most unsafe segments” of the driving inhabitants throughout the state, said Cathy Chase, president of the Washington, D.C.-centered Advocates for Highway and Car Basic safety.

“This is a worst-scenario situation, on best of a worst-situation state of affairs, on best of a worst-situation scenario,” Chase explained.

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