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Memorial Day starts the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers

Julia MunleyNothing kills more teens in Pennsylvania than car crashes and no other group on the road has a higher risk of crash. The National Safety Council (NSC) warns parents that Memorial Day kicks off the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers, as many teens are out of school and on the road more frequently during the summer months.

Some of the key contributors to crashes involving teens include driver inexperience, driver distractions, speeding and driving carelessly. Summer driving also tends to be more recreational for teens, and they may be carrying more passengers than at other times of the year. Passengers increase the risk of a fatal crash involving a teen by at least 44%. Pennsylvania laws restrict the number of passengers in cars with drivers holding a junior driver’s license. A driver is not permitted to have more than one passenger under age 18 who is not an immediate family member unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Teens may also tend to speed more in warm weather with clearer conditions. Speeding causes 40% of all fatal teen accidents, according to DMV.org. Teens are also more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors, such as texting or cell phone use. Even eating and drinking while driving or playing with the radio dial can cause a distraction that can lead to an accident.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for teens, who crash at a rate three times higher than more experienced drivers. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2012, nearly 1,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers. More than 550 of those killed were teens.

US roadways are busy during the summer months, which will also increase the chances of a crash. According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans drove more than 780 billion miles between June and August in 2013.

Experience helps drivers to understand, recognize, and react to potential driving hazards. Teens have not had a chance to fully develop their driving skills or their road and highway knowledge. Parents can play an important role in keeping their teen’s safe during the summer months by setting the following rules.

  • Restrict driving to essential trips and set rules, including limiting the number of passengers in your teen’s car.
  • Restrict night driving, when a teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles.
  • Enforce observance of speed limits and the rules of the road.
  • Let your teen know the importance of seatbelts for drivers and passengers – they save lives. According to the NSC, more than half of the teens killed in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Do now allow your teen to use a cell phone while driving the car. If it is an emergency, tell them to pull safely off to the side of the road to make a call.
  • Ride with your teen often to monitor his or her driving skills.
  • Most importantly, let your teens know that drinking and driving will not be tolerated.

If you have been injured in car accident, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529.

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