Car accidents are the major cause of death for Americans under 30, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2009, more than 33,000 people were killed in auto accidents, with another 2.2 million injured. Of those casualties, more than 70 percent occurred in passenger vehicles.
Although seat belts are the most effective tool in preventing serious injury and death in an accident, more than half of those killed were not wearing a restraint, according to the CDC. Many people disregard seat belt laws, which was reportedly the case on Jan. 8 when seven teens were unrestrained in a rollover accident in Spanish Springs, Nevada.
The teenagers were riding in a car on a gravel road after 1 a.m. when authorities say the teens were involved in a rollover. The driver was reported to be ejected from the vehicle, and five of the passengers then reportedly fled the scene. The driver was flown to a hospital for treatment. One passenger remained at the scene, and deputies found another passenger hiding in the brush; both were taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Law enforcement officers later located the other four passengers and checked them for injuries.
The accident investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending. Police believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the rollover.
The teens involved in this accident were undoubtedly frightened, but there can be serious legal repercussions for leaving the scene of a crash. Of course, underage drinking and driving is another violation that puts lives at risk.
Passengers who have been injured because of a drunk driver's negligence may find it necessary to negotiate with an insurance company or sue the driver in order to receive due compensation for medical bills and other costs resulting from the crash. To prove liability in these situations, it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional with experience in personal injury law.
Source: KTVN TV, "Rollover Accident Sends 3 Teens to the Hospital," Jan. 8, 2014
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Policy Impact: Seat Belts," Jan. 20, 2012