Summer can be deadly for teen drivers

For young people, car accidents are consistently at the top of the list when looking at causes of death in Tennessee. Summer offers a break from school and teen drivers dream of going to the beach, going out with friends and having all sorts of fun while they have no obligations. The reality, though, is that this is often a recipe for increased accidents and increased fatality rates.

Part of it is just that teens are driving more in the summer than they are during the school year. When school is in session, they average around 16.4 hours each week. In the summer, it jumps to 23.6 hours a week. That's an increase of around 44 percent.

Additionally, since they are all out of school at once, teens tend to pick up their friends and all pile into the same vehicle. This has been shown to be a serious distraction on the road, and it also means that more people are in danger of being hurt or killed if there is an accident. During the school year, just 6 percent of the teen drivers say they do this, but it leaps to 23 percent for the summer months.

Finally, the late nights can play a role. Driving at night presents more hazards, especially to new drivers who have not logged many hours behind the wheel. Even though it stays lighter for longer, teens are more likely to stay out very late in the summer, when they can sleep in. This can lead to a rise in accidents due to fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel.

If a teen driver injured you in an accident, you may have the right to seek compensation.

Source: SADD, "Summer Driving Statistics that May Bring Teens to a Halt," accessed May. 27, 2015

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