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Would seatbelts have saved Dallas teens’ lives?

A high school is in mourning over the death of two teens who were killed after being ejected from a truck during a rollover. This is a tragic accident that occurred just outside of Elgin. There were five passengers in the truck, including the driver, and two were fatally injured, while the other other three survived.

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time, and may have been weather-related. The vehicle apparently went off the road, and began rolling down a steep embankment, ejecting the two "now-deceased" passengers, who were not wearing seat belts, from the back seat. A third passenger, also not wearing a seat belt, is listed in serious condition.The driver and another passenger in the front seat were wearing seat belts and are listed in stable condition. Of the two teens ejected, one was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other died later at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

While many people believe the back seat of a vehicle is safer, and doesn’t necessarily require a seat belt, in this case, it is likely that the seat belts may have saved the lives of the two teens in the front. In Texas, seat belts are not required in the back for passengers over 17 years of age, but that does not mean they are not recommended. The deceased teens in this accident included a 17-year-old female and a 15-year-old male, both under the legal age and required to wear a seat belt.

Accident injuries can be severe or fatal, with or without seat belts, but parents should stress safety measures to young drivers and set good examples by their own actions. No one wants to go to the funeral of a young person.

Another serious consequence in any accident, which may seem menial compared to the pain of losing a loved one, is who is going to pay for the expenses from an accident — such as damages, medical bills, ongoing recovery costs, loss of income and so on.

The responsible party is usually the person or entity that is found at fault. It can be a person who was speeding or driving recklessly, a faulty road design, or even a misplaced warning sign left by a road crew. When there is an "at-fault" party, an attorney is usually required to help victims receive just compensation for their damages and losses.

Source: American-Statesman, "Two teens dead, three others injured in rollover crash near Elgin" James Barragan, Mar. 01, 2015

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