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No seat belts for five North Texas teens killed in tanker crash

Injury accident victims know how little it takes for a driving mistake to become a crash and an accident to turn deadly. Five North Texas teenagers died when an SUV driven by a 16-year-old collided with a fuel truck and caught fire. Truck accident flames also consumed the tanker and its driver.

The fatal trucking accident occurred north of Amarillo when the teen driver dismissed or failed to see a stop sign. The gas-filled truck smashed into the side of the teens’ vehicle and flames erupted.

The truck driver was flown to a Lubbock hospital with burn injuries. Most of the SUV passengers were 17, except for the 15-year-old sister of one of the victims. One of the teens was the mother of an infant.

The teens were friends that regularly traveled together. A boy who was new to the area had recently joined the group. He also died.

On the same day several states away, a stolen SUV containing eight teens slammed into a guard rail and overturned in a pond. Six teens died. Two escaped through a smashed, back window. The youngest victims were 14.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2010 traffic accidents were responsible for about 25 percent of all deaths among young people between 15 and 24. Statistics showed crash fatalities far and away outnumbered all other causes of death.

The teen drivers in the recent fatalities were with a group of friends. In many states, including Texas, graduated licensing programs forbid new drivers from having more than one nonadult passenger. The rule was designed to prevent driver distraction and perhaps avoid passenger encouragement to test traffic laws.

Most of the victims from these accidents died violent deaths adding permanent pain to the sorrow and loss of family members including an infant. Wrongful death lawsuits are possible against the estates of the teens responsible for the accidents.

Source: wptv.com, "Dumas, Texas crash kills 5 teens: SUV collided with gas tanker, driver Jacob Paul Stipe was 16," March 12, 2013

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