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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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100 Deadly Days of Summer: Protecting Your Teen Driver

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While summer is a time for relaxation, vacation, and other activities, it is also a good time to remember that the period between Memorial and Labor Day is the deadliest time of the year for teen drivers. Although the overall number of teen accidents are down, nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in an auto accident involving a teen driver are those other than the teen behind the wheel, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In 2013 alone, 371,645 people were injured and 2,927 were killed in crashes that involved a teen driver. “Since teens drive more during the summer than any other season, this insight is a timely reminder to everyone—drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists— to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Compared to older drivers, teen drivers are more likely to engage in distractive driving and they are more likely to find these distracting behaviors acceptable.  Driving inexperience, coupled with distractions, can greatly increase the risk of a serious or deadly accident. While cellphones and texting are often the blame, loud conversations and horseplay between passengers were even more likely than technology to result in a dangerous incident involving a teenage driver. According to the AAA report, the risk increases by 44% with just one passenger younger than 21; it doubles with two passengers under 21; and quadruples with three or more passenger under 21. This is a main reason many states issued graduated, first-time licenses that restrict the number of youth passengers with a teen driver.

When it comes to safety, parents should not take the summer off. It is important to talk to your teen driver about wearing seat belts, following the speed limit and other road signs, avoiding distractions and alcohol, and ways to stay safe on the road.  Setting a curfew is also important. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. By setting expectations and rules before summer gets underway and consistently sticking to the rules, parents can make a big difference in how safe their teens are during this risky time of year. For free tips and resources to help keep your teen driver safe, click here.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.