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With Summer Here, Ensuring Safe Driving Among Teens Must Be a Priority

For teens across Tennessee and throughout the U.S., we are currently in one of the best times of the year, as classes are officially finished and school-related activities are drawing to a close. Indeed, this means they are now free to focus on some of their favorite and time-honored summer pastimes, including working a summer job, hanging out with their friends and, of course, sleeping in.

As exciting as this time can be for teens, it would be remiss not to mention that these summer months also present an elevated risk of car accidents, as more teens — many of whom are lacking experience behind the wheel and prone to distraction — will be out on the roads at all hours of the day and night.

In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has long identified the timeframe between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.

If this seems like hyperbole, consider that a AAA examination of data from the federal government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting system revealed that in 2013 alone, the average number of fatalities among teen drivers and passengers over the summer months was 220, a 43 percent increase from the other nine months of the year.

As chilling as these numbers are, consider some of the other findings by AAA concerning car accidents involving 15-19 year old drivers from 1994 to 2013:

  • 67 percent of the people injured in these car accidents were people other than the teen driver, with 2 percent of this figure being non-motorists (bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.), 17 percent of this figure being passengers in the teen’s car and almost 50 percent of this figure being people in other vehicles.
  • 66 percent of the people killed in these car accidents were people other than the teen driver, with 10 percent of this figure being non-motorists (bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.), 27 percent of this figure being passengers in the teen’s car and almost 30 percent of this figure being people in other vehicles.

“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 an official with AAA.

According to AAA, parents can go a long way toward keeping their teens and others safe during the summer months and well into the next school by executing what is known as a parent-teen driving arrangement.

Are you the parent of a teen driver? If so, what are you doing to ensure driving safety?