In Virginia, two army officers and aides recently came upon a tragic fatal accident. The crash involved a mass transit bus and a passenger vehicle. Passengers were trapped inside the car, and two soldiers were able to successfully pull someone from the car before it erupted into flames. Another passenger in the vehicle tragically could not be rescued and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to ABC News.
The passenger who was saved was fortunate in this particular accident that the army convoy happened to be passing. Many passengers in Virginia are not so lucky.
Passengers are at risk of accidents whenever drivers are careless. Passengers are vulnerable if the driver who they are riding with is negligent and if other motorists on the road engage in dangerous behavior.
What are the Greatest Risk for Passenger Injuries?
Any passenger could get hurt when a crash happens. However, some passengers are much more at risk than others. For example, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports the highest rates of passenger deaths for teen drivers. The risk of dying as a passenger in a car begins to fall as people get older, until they reach age 60 to 69, at which time the risk increases again.
Because being young is one of the biggest risk factors for death as a passenger in a car, the state of Virginia has tried to protect young people through graduated licensing laws. Drive Smart Virginia explains that drivers under 18 cannot drive with more than one non-family passenger under the age of 18 until the teen driver has had a provisional license for at least a year. Even after a year is up, teen drivers cannot have more than three underaged non-family passengers in their car until they turn 18.
Another big risk factor for passenger injuries is being in the backseat of the car. This may come as a surprise, as it was widely believed that the back was safer. However, CBS News reported that the back is actually a riskier place to be because crash test dummies are only placed in the front seat during testing. Lots of advances have been made in keeping these front seat passengers safe, but the back seat has fallen behind.
Passengers need to know the risks. If you are young, don't get into the car with another young driver. Parents should make rules restricting this to protect their kids. If you are riding in a car, try to sit in the front seat when possible and be sure to buckle up in the back. Avoid getting into the car with someone who is drunk and speak up in the driver is risking safety. If an injury or fatality does happen, passengers also need to know their rights, as compensation may be available for damages.