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Deadly teen driving increases this time of year

One's daily commute can be scary. After all, the road is littered with fatigued truckers, distracted motorists, and those who are intoxicated. Any one of these individuals can make a mistake that can cause serious damage to themselves and others around them, including innocent and defenseless motorists. As researchers continue to study car accidents, their causes, and how they can be prevented, many continue to find themselves surprised.

Some New Jersey residents may be surprised to know that a recent study by AAA found that young teen drivers push up the fatality rate for car wrecks during the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, termed the "100 Deadliest Days." Over the last half decade, approximately 1,000 people have died each year in wrecks involving teen drivers. This death rate is about 16 percent higher than other times of the year.

So, what causes this increase? It could be the relation of two factors. First, teenagers are typically out of school at or near the time of Memorial Day, giving them more time to be on the road. Second, far too many of these teenage drivers are distracted while behind the wheel. In fact, one study found that nearly 60 percent of these crashes had cell phone usage as a contributing factor. Making matters worse, studies have also shown that more teens are turning away from talking on their cell phones while driving in favor of sending text messages. Taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds can cause them to drive hundreds of yards without seeing the road.

Although parents, public safety officials, lawmakers, and the police have tried to ensure safe teen driving and crack down on texting and driving, the sad truth of the matter is that these accidents will likely continue far into the future. Those who are harmed in these wrecks and have suffered considerable damages may want to carefully consider their legal options, as compensation may be available to them.

Source: USA Today, "AAA: 100 'deadliest days' of summer: Teens on the road after Memorial Day," Bart Jansen, June 1, 2016

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