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Billings teen dies in tragic rollover crash on I-90

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A car accident lawyer explains the risks teen drivers face

A 17-year-old driver recently died in a fatal rollover car accident on Interstate 90 in Billings, Montana. The fatal accident is not the first one involving teenage drivers this year in Billings. So far, five teenagers have died in three separate fatal accidents in and around the state’s largest city, according to The Billings Gazette.

This past February, a 17-year-old girl died in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Rimrock Road and Virginia Lane. In response, the Billings City Council approved the installation of a traffic light at that intersection in June.

Also in February, three teenagers died in a rollover accident on an icy stretch of South 64th Street West near Danford Road in Billings. A 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl died at the scene of the accident. A 17-year-old boy died the next day at Billings Clinic Hospital, according to KTVQ Q2 News.

How did the fatal I-90 accident happen?

The recent fatal rollover accident on I-90 occurred around 3:18 a.m. on Thursday, June 24, 2021, according to KULR 8 News. The 17-year-old girl who died in the accident was driving eastbound on I-90 near mile marker 451 when she reportedly tried to make a righthand curve but overcorrected, causing the vehicle to skid and roll off the road, according to the official accident report compiled by the Montana Highway Patrol, as reported by KULR 8 News.

The driver was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The accident remains under investigation. The Montana Highway Patrol told KULR 8 News that “drugs and alcohol are considered factors in the incident.”

What are the common causes of teen driver accidents?

Accidents involving teenage drivers, unfortunately, occur far too often. Among teenagers, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, an estimated 2,400 teenagers between the ages of 13 to 19 years old die in motor vehicle accidents, along with more than 250,000 injuries each year that require medical treatment in an emergency room.

Common causes of car accidents involving teenage drivers cover a wide range, according to the CDC. They include:

  • Driver inexperience — Teenagers often do not accurately estimate dangerous situations.
  • Nighttime driving — About 40% of traffic fatalities involving teen drivers occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Weekend driving — Over 50% of traffic fatalities involving teens occur on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  • Not wearing seatbelts — Teens have the lowest seatbelt usage rate of any age group.
  • Distracted driving — Teen drivers frequently use cellphones or text while driving.
  • Speeding — Teen drivers are much more likely to speed than older drivers.
  • Drunk driving — About 25% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were under the influence of alcohol.

These are just some of the reasons why accidents happen involving teenage drivers. It's also why it’s important for steps to be taken to educate teenagers about the dangers they may face on the road and what they can do to protect themselves and other drivers.

Know your legal rights and options after a car accident

Crashes involving teenage drivers might seem straightforward, especially if a teen driver or someone else clearly caused your accident. But many motor vehicle accidents turn out to be far more complicated than you might expect. Sometimes, it’s because the at-fault driver denies doing anything wrong. Other times, you may encounter resistance from the at-fault driver’s insurance company because they care more about protecting profits than paying you the money you need and deserve.

This is why it’s important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you've been injured or a loved one died in a car accident caused by someone else. In Billings, injury victims and their families can count on attorney Matthew Braukmann and the legal team at Braukmann Law, PLLC to fight for maximum compensation. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us and schedule your free case evaluation today.

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