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Tragic Lesson in Teen Driving at Railway Crossing

Last week, we wrote a blog post about how teen driving fatalities are on the rise, and how Texas teen drivers are near the top of that list. An example of this hit close to home for one family near Houston.

Their teenage son had said that he was going to spend the evening playing baseball with his friends. But by 4 pm, he was dead. The 16-year-old was riding shotgun in a pickup truck with his 20-year-old friend. As they approached a railroad crossing, they noticed an oncoming train. Despite the railroad crossing sign flashing at them, the boys decided they could beat the train. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

The impact of the train hitting the truck immediately killed the 16-year-old passenger. The 20-year-old driver of the truck was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital. He was admitted in critical condition with head and internal injuries.

Following the accident, the Texas Department of Public Safety launched a campaign to emphasize the importance of obeying traffic laws at railway crossings. Law enforcement officers monitored a railroad crossing for three and a half hours to see how many people obeyed the railway crossing laws. During that time span, troopers issued 130 warnings and traffic citations.

The teenager's father holds no grudge against the pickup truck's driver. "How many times a kid's tried to do that? How many times a parent's done that? But this time it was an unlucky chance he took," he said. He also expressed gratitude for the increased enforcement efforts by law enforcement. He hopes that the loss of his son will serve as a reminder that the "time you try to save beating a train could cost you the rest of your life."

Source: Click2Houston.com, "Family Struggles with teens death," 1/21/12.

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