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For teen drivers, distractions aren’t always electronic

After a long and miserable winter, New York is ready to embrace summer. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, even if there are a couple more weeks of school. This is the first weekend that many of us can drive around with the windows open without congratulating ourselves for being tough enough to risk frostbite for the sake of a little fresh air.

That last may be an exaggeration, but people do switch into Summer Mode over Memorial Day weekend. The worries of winter are solidly behind us for a few months, and we can relax a little.

Unless, of course, you are responsible for the welfare of a teen driver. In that case, you have a few years to go before you can relax, because the summer — the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day — is the most dangerous time of year for teen drivers.

Researchers have found that the number of fatal accidents involving teen drivers increases during the summer. The numbers are staggering: According to the National Safety Council, nearly 1,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents involving a teen driver during the summer of 2012. Worse yet: 550 of those fatalities were teenagers.

While teens may drink and drive or chat on cellphones while driving, perhaps the riskiest choice they make when driving is to have other teenagers in the car with them. Again according to the NSC, a teen driver carrying a teenage passenger increases their chances of a fatal crash by 44 percent. That’s with just one teen passenger. The risk doubles with two passengers and quadruples with three or more.

We’ll continue this in our next post.

Sources: 

CNN, “Parents, beware: These are the 100 deadliest days for teens,” Kelly Wallace, May 23, 2014

National Safety Council, “The 100 deadliest days for teen drivers,” accessed at www.NSC.org on May 24, 2014

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