Boy, 13, was driving truck in Texas crash that killed nine

Six members of the University of the Southwest golf team were killed in the crash

The scene of the fatal car accident in Andrews, Texas.

A 13-year-old boy was driving a pickup truck that collided with a van carrying a college golf team in west Texas, killing nine people, National Transportation Safety (NTS) board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said.

Six members of the New Mexico-based University of the Southwest golf team were killed in Tuesday night's crash, along with their coach, police said.

The 13-year-old boy and his 38-year-old father, who was in the pickup truck, also died in the accident, which occurred near Andrews, Texas, about 50 kilometres east of the New Mexico state line.

The truck’s left front tyre, which was a spare one, blew out before impact, Mr Landsberg said.

Although it was unclear how fast the two vehicles were traveling, “this was clearly a high-speed collision".

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Dodge 2500 pickup veered into the oncoming lane, colliding head on with the van.

Both vehicles caught fire.

The University of the Southwest students, including one from Portugal and one from Mexico, and the coach were returning from a golf tournament when the crash occurred on Tuesday night.

Two Canadian students are in a critical condition in hospital.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigative team to the crash site.

Underage driving quite common

At a news conference in Odessa, Texas, on Thursday, Mr Landsberg said the dangers of underage driving put it on the agency’s “most-wanted list”.

The boy driving the truck was violating Texas law.

A resident may obtain a learner's driving licence at 15, which allows them to drive with an adult, aged 21 and over, who has a driving licence.

Along with drunk and distracted driving, Mr Landsberg said “youthful driving” and excessive speed on rural roads are among the problems that make motorway driving the most dangerous form of transit in the US.

“Every two days we are killing the equivalent of a Boeing 737 crashing,” he said, referring to motorway fatalities from multiple causes. “It’s long overdue that we start to do something about it.”

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, there were 47 fatal crashes and 1,057 accidents resulting in injuries in 2020 involving drivers aged 13 or younger.

In 2019, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles travelled was 1.9 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 8:24 AM