It can be a stressful time for parents when their teenager gets a driver’s license and starts to head out on the road alone for the first time. Naturally, teenagers are less experienced and prepared to avoid accidents, while they are also more likely to speed and attempt risky maneuvers than other age groups.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers in 2013 alone caused over 2,900 deaths and 371,645 injuries in traffic accidents, and about two-thirds of these injuries and deaths were individuals other than the teen driver. The foundation also advises particular caution between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a period known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for the higher prevalence of traffic accidents among teenagers. Summer can be a dangerous time for teenagers for a variety of reasons, including:
- Free time – Teens generally have more free time in the summer without school, extracurricular activities, and similar obligations, and are likely to drive more frequently and travel further. They’re also more likely to drive with multiple passengers in the car, each of which can contribute to distraction for the driver.
- Less supervision – Teens are often less supervised during the summer when they are out of school but their parents are still at work. This leaves them with the responsibility of their own transportation, but also allows them more freedom to go out.
- Holidays – Summer is full of barbecues and outdoor fun, and the Fourth of July – especially when it falls on or near a weekend – can be a dangerous time to be on the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more traffic fatalities occur on this day than any other day of the year. It is a time to be more cautious than usual, especially if significant time on the road is to be expected.
- Texting and driving – Texting while driving has been a growing problem, and it is arguably more prevalent among teenagers than any other age group. Many teens have yet to gain a full understanding of how distractions can affect their driving and may underestimate the distraction of their own cell phones. Drivers of all ages must understand that texting while driving now causes traffic injuries and fatalities on a daily basis. In one U.S. government report, 25% of teen drivers admitted to sending or responding to texts each time they drive, and this, too, must decrease.
- Drinking and driving – The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that underage drinking has been on the rise in recent years, and this combined with ignorance of how alcohol affects driving is a dangerous mix. It’s important for parents to speak with teens about these dangers, as some teens are afraid to call their parents for a safe ride home because it requires admitting that they have been drinking. Open dialogue is the best way to reduce these risks and ensure that teens stay safe – and sober – on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Mike Agruss Law, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.