It is generally accepted that motorists in San Antonio have a responsibility to keep the passengers of their vehicles safe. Most assume that responsibility to include not driving recklessly, as well as ensuring that their vehicles are operating efficiently. Yet should they also be held accountable for the decisions their passengers make during their journeys? Say, for example, that a passenger decides not to wear a seat belt. Is the driver responsible for ensuring that he or she does so? After all, it is likely widely known by most what the consequences of such a decision may be.
Those consequences were on full display following a rollover accident off of U.S. Highway 281 in San Antonio. For reasons yet unknown to accident investigators, the man driving the vehicle lost control, which resulted in the vehicle rolling into the median. He survived the accident without injury, yet the teenage woman he was traveling with was ejected from the vehicle during the accident. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities believe that she was not wearing her seat belt.
In this particular case, the driver reportedly cooperated with law enforcement officials and did not appear to be intoxicated. Yet could there still be a question of liability in this case (and others like it)? Texas law requires all adult passengers to wear seat belts when riding in the front seat of a vehicle (they are not legally required to do so when riding in the back). It also places responsibility on the drivers of vehicles to ensure that their passengers comply with seat belt laws. Those looking to initiate a liability claim when drivers fail to meet this obligation may want to work with an attorney when doing so.
Source: mySanAntonio.com “Teen killed in fiery rollover crash on South Side identified” Downs, Caleb, Dec. 28, 2017