Teenage Drivers at Higher Risk During Summer Months

Compared to people in other age categories, teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in motor-vehicle accidents. In the summer, as more miles are driven across the country, the dangers younger drivers face on the road multiply. Fortunately, many teen car accident deaths are preventable, and there are steps you can take to lower the risk for the less-experienced drivers in your life.

Accidents Skyrocket Amid Common Dangers

According to the advocacy group Students Against Destructive Decisions, teen drivers spend 44 percent more time behind the wheel during the summer months. Many factors that lead to unsafe driving are also more prevalent in warmer weather: rates of drinking and drug use increase, speeding becomes more appealing and distractions abound from various sources (carrying more teenage passengers, texting or talking on cell phones to square up summer social plans, adjusting stereo volume to compensate for rolled down windows, etc.).

Statistics from Students Against Destructive Decisions demonstrate that approximately one-third of teen drivers in fatal car accidents were speeding at the time of the crash, a quarter had been drinking and well over half were not wearing a seatbelt. What makes teen car accidents even more tragic is that these safety threats are all easily avoidable.

Distracted driving takes a heavy toll on our nation's safety as well, accounting for thousands of motor-vehicle accidents every year. Communicating with passengers, eating or drinking, and a number of other distractions can be deadly while driving. Using mobile devices behind the wheel can be especially dangerous, and almost half of teenagers admit that they have sent a text message from the driver's seat.

Combine added time on the road and a number of unsafe behaviors, and it comes as little surprise that motor-vehicle accidents are responsible for almost twice as many teen deaths per day in May, June, July and August than the rest of the months in the year.

How Parents Can Help Protect Teen Drivers

Inexperience is one of the greatest obstacles young drivers face. Supplemental defensive-driving classes are a great way to boost behind-the-wheel skills, and allowing teens to drive whenever you are along presents good teaching opportunities. If you are driving with teenage passengers in the vehicle, do not forget to set a good example yourself.

While you should talk to teenagers about safe driving, many parents go so far as to establish a "driving pledge" in which teens promise to limit the number of passengers they carry, avoid speeding and put away their cell phones.

This summer, take measures to ensure the safety of teenage drivers. Promote safety behind the wheel, and if you have been injured by distracted or otherwise reckless driving, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.