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Is your teen driver at risk this summer?

Rochester parents of teenagers should be aware that the days between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September are collectively known as summer's "100 deadliest days" for teen drivers.

As reported by AAA, a group dedicated to education and automobile research, in research years, approximately 1,000 individuals have died in auto accidents involving teen drivers during this period. Part of the reason for the deadly danger is that so many in this age group are out of school and on the roads.

While many teens also have summer jobs to occupy their time, getting to and from their work shifts also puts them behind the wheel — sometimes late at night when many fatal accidents occur. As a result, traffic deaths during the summer months show a significant uptick of 16 percent for those between 16 and 19 years of age.

Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) support this position. In a recent five-year span, more than 10 people were killed every day in the 100-day period — an average of 1,022 deaths in collisions with teenage drivers.

What can parents do?

Parents remain a major influence on teenage drivers. Reinforcing the dangers of driving distracted, which includes texting and general cellphone usage, could reduce the nearly 59 percent of accidents that occur when drivers aren't fully concentrating on the road ahead.

One study from the University of Iowa focused on the last six seconds prior to a collision. Researchers discovered that in 15 percent of the crashes, drivers were conversing with passengers. In 12 percent of the wrecks, drivers were engaged with their cellphones and another 11 percent involved drivers whose attention was diverted to a distraction within the passenger compartment of the vehicles.

Parents should talk to their teens about the enhanced risks during these months to refocus their attention to safety. If your teen is involved in a car accident this summer, you may need to advocate for them to receive compensation from the at-fault party.

Source: USA Today, "AAA: 100 'deadliest days' of summer: Teens on the road after Memorial Day," Bart Jansen, accessed June 15, 2018

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