Driver in Texas accident was 13-years old; is this legal?

It's not unusual for rural Americans to learn to drive at a young age, often before reaching their teens.

Driver in Texas accident was 13-years old; is this legal?

However, the news that a 13 year old was driving a pickup truck and hitting a van in West Texas on Tuesday night, killed nine people, including six members of New Mexico's college golf teams and their coach, put renewed attention on the practice.

On Thursday, National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chair Bruce Landsberg stated that the dangers of driving underage put it on its "most-wanted" list.

Landsberg stated that highway driving is the most dangerous type of transit in America, along with drunken and distracted driving.

He said that every two days, highway fatalities due to multiple causes were equivalent to a Boeing 737 crashing. It's past time that we do something about this.


Cash Hogen, 60, who owns a Pierre hardware and kitchen store, recalls learning how to drive a Ford Bronco around age 10. Cash Hogen, a 60-year-old who runs a Pierre kitchen and hardware store in South Dakota, recalled learning to drive a Ford Bronco on the two-track roads that ran across his ranch in western South Dakota. He used it to fix barbed-wire fences and other jobs.

His father stressed safety around cars and shared stories about terrible tragedies to emphasize the danger.

He stated, "Under no circumstances could I be out on the public roads without my learner’s permit."

It's legal for anyone to drive on private property such as farms and ranches. However, it is illegal for others to drive on public roads. This is according to William Van Tassel, manager of driver training programs at AAA's national office.

Each state in the United States has a graduated driver's license program. Teens as young as 14 years old can take driver's education classes and drive with an instructor or guardian. They gain more autonomy and are allowed to drive alone or at night until they are fully licensed.

Van Tassel stated that there is a tendency to lower driving age in rural areas. We see that many teen drivers have some driving experience before they enter a driver's education program. This is because they've driven trucks, tractors, or other vehicles on the farms. The laws regarding public roads are clear. You cannot drive on them unless you are legally qualified.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that there were 47 fatalities and 1,057 injuries in crashes involving drivers aged 13 or under in 2020.

2019 fatality rate for 100 million miles of vehicle traveled was 1.9x higher in rural areas than it was in urban areas.


Although the cause of Tuesday's accident in Andrews County Texas near the New Mexico border was not clear, federal authorities stated Thursday that the 13 year old was driving a Dodge pickup truck on a road with a speed limit of 75 mph when its spare tire (the front left tire) burst.

The truck crossed the center line and crashed into a transit van carrying the University of the Southwest golf team, Hobbs, New Mexico. The father of the boy was killed along with other members of his golf team and their coach.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant. Steven Blanco stated Friday.

Despite being rural, traffic can be heavy due to the Permian Basin, which crosses from West Texas into New Mexico.

Hobbs' Gib Stevens (57), is the trucking manager for an oilfield service company. Although he stated that he started driving trucks when he was 12, on quiet farm roads and dairy farms, he claimed the road where the accident occurred was clearly unsafe.

Stevens stated, "For a thirteen-year-old driver that road, that is dumb." These roads are all oil traffic."


Texas law requires that a person 14 years old be enrolled in classroom instruction to obtain a learner’s license. A provisional license is issued to anyone who can drive the vehicle with an instructor or licensed adult. Department of Public Safety Sergeant. Victor Taylor stated that it would be illegal for a thirteen-year-old driver to drive on public roads.

Van Tassel pointed out that there were other risk factors to the accident than the driver's youth. It occurred at night on a road with high speeds and when the spare blew.

Cathy Chase, president and CEO of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in Washington, D.C., stated that teenage boys are among the most dangerous segments of the driving population.

Chase stated, "This is the worst-case scenario on top of the worst-case scenarios, on top a worse-case scenario on top of an even worse-case scenario,"


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