The Yakima region and Wapato, Washington in particular have seen more than their fair share of fatal teen auto accidents this year. In the last month alone there have now been five auto accidents that claimed the lives of teens in the area. After working in a Bellevue personal injury law firm as a wrongful death lawyer and auto accident attorney, I have seen more than my fair share of fatal teen auto accidents.

The most recent fatality in this string of fatal teen auto accidents was a 18-year-old Wapato high school graduate. Hannah Cordova was a student at Yakima Valley Community College where she was part of the soccer team and basketball team, sadly her life was cut short Monday, February 28th when she was involved in a two vehicle crash. Cardova was driving her 2010 Honda Accord north on Highway 97 when she collided with a 2001 Ford Ranger headed southbound.  The impact from the collision sent Cardova’s car skidding over 400 feet- Cardova was pronounced dead shortly after the accident. The driver of the Ford, 67-year-old Rogelia Mendoza was uninjured in the accident though both vehicles were totaled.

According to police reports one of the drivers ran a red light when the accident occurred, it is unknown at this time which driver was at-fault for the accident.

With fatal teen auto accidents being the leading cause of death among teenagers it is scary for parents to let their children take to the streets. There are, however, a few things you can do to help better prepare your child for the road and make them a safer driver.

  • Enroll them in a defensive driving school. Defensive driving school graduates have far fewer auto accidents statistically than those enrolled in “standard” programs.
  • Ride along with them often.
  • Set rules and consequences for breaking those rules. Cell phones should not be in the car, restrictions on what times they can drive and who can ride with them.

For more information read our article: Teaching Your Teen to Drive Safely.

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