Teen Driver Safety During the Summer

To most teenagers, summer is the most liberating time of year. It usually amounts to 10 weeks away from school to have fun, go on vacation and spend time with friends. For teens that drive, it is unfortunately the deadliest time of year. According to the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety, the summer months are dubbed "the 100 deadliest days for drivers." An average of 422 teens are involved in fatal car accidents each month during the summer, while 363 deaths occur in other months during the year.

A number of factors lead to the increase of teen driving fatalities during the summer. Many more teens are driving at night, as school is not in and more teens spend time away from home. Also, distractions in the vehicle are prevalent. More teens are texting while driving, talking on cell phones, and controlling mp3 players. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that handheld cell phone use was highest among drivers aged 16-24. Also, they are commonly driving at high speeds and not wearing seat belts. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis found that more than a third of fatal accidents involved excessive speeds, and 55 percent of passengers in such accidents were not buckled up. Further, drivers were alcohol impaired (having a BAC of .08 or higher) in 25 percent of fatal crashes.

Because of these daunting statistics, young drivers in Texas must undergo additional education before obtaining a driver's license. Under the Less Tears More Years Act of 2009, teens must have a minimum of 34 hours of driving instruction before taking a driver's test. Parents or legal guardians must administer at least 20 hours, and half of that time must include practice at night.

It is important that parents impress upon their teens the importance of driver safety. Staying safe while behind the wheel is a crucial part of learning how to drive. If you have questions about your legal rights and options after an accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to understand how best to proceed.