Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Concerned About Teen Drivers’ Safety This Summer

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Jun 04

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Concerned About Teen Drivers’ Safety This Summer

philadelphia personal injury lawyers, new jersey personal injury attorneysAs the school year is coming to an end and summertime approaches, parents should be aware that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the most dangerous time of the year for teen drivers and their passengers. In fact, the month of May is recognized as Global Youth Traffic Safety Month because Memorial Day marks the start of the 100 deadliest days for teens. Messa & Associates, experienced personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia and New Jersey, are dismayed, though not surprised, that the number of teen driving-related deaths and injuries dramatically increases in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

While Teen Auto Accidents Increase during Summer Months, the Increased Risk is Always Present

Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for young Americans. The number of teen fatalities from car accidents rises in the summer months. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 422 teens die in traffic accidents during each of the summer months, as compared to an average during the non-summer months of 363 teens.

The risk of an auto accident involving a teen driver, however, is always increased, no matter what time of year. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report earlier this year showing a strong association between the risk of a teen driver being killed in an automobile accident and the number and age of passengers in the vehicle. The report concluded that the possibility of a 16- or 17-year-old driver dying in a motor vehicle crash increases with each additional young passenger present in the car.

Specifically, when a teen driver is transporting one passenger under the age of 21, the risk of death is increased by about 44 percent. That risk doubles when there are two passengers under the age of 21, and quadruples when three passengers under 21 are present in a vehicle with a 16 -or 17-year-old driver. These statistics were found when no older passengers were present in the car.

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released preliminary data from the year 2011. They compiled information from all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the number of fatally injured teenage drivers for the first six months of 2011. There were a reported 211 passenger vehicle driver deaths of 16- and 17-year-olds. This was an increase from 190 deaths reported in the first six months of 2010. The state of Pennsylvania also reported an increase with a reported 10 deaths in the specified age group in the first half of 2011 compared to 8 in the previous year.

Initiatives Taken to Reduce Auto Accidents among Teenagers

A variety of approaches have been taken to reduce crashes among the teen population. Some of these are state laws, licensing programs, and educational initiatives. Laws are in existence in most states for the use of seat belts and the prohibition of cell phone use and texting. Most states have graduated licensing laws that restrict the number of passengers that teenage drivers can have in a vehicle as well as restrictions in nighttime driving. Parents need to review the specific guidelines in their state that newly licensed teens need to follow on driving privileges and restrictions. In addition, driver educational programs are available throughout the country for both parents and teens to promote safer driving behaviors and attitudes. The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates have represented numerous victims suffering catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries as a result of a teen driver’s failure to comply with the laws and/or lack of preparedness for operating a vehicle.

Messa & Associates’ Personal Injury Attorneys Urge Parents to Play Active Role to Prevent Teen Auto Accidents

Learning to drive and getting a driver’s license is an exciting time that every teen dreams about, but most parents approach this time with fear and anxiety. Parents need to take a significant role in helping to instill safe driving habits and good decision making skills with their children with the ultimate goal of reducing the risk of teen deaths and injuries. Some recommendations are listed below to help keep your teen safe this summer.

*Set an Example: First and foremost, lead by example. Parents may not realize that their children have been watching their behaviors for years. Chances are children will emulate their parents driving behaviors. Therefore, it is imperative for adults to wear their seatbelts, obey traffic laws, and to steer away from risky behaviors such as talking on a cell phone, texting, or eating. The bottom line is that you need to be a good role model.

*Practice: Parents need to dedicate their time in helping teens get as much driving experience as possible before they begin to drive unsupervised. Parents need to try to stay calm while helping their children learn how to operate the vehicle and remember that making mistakes is part of the process. Remain focused and patient.

*Set Limits and Enforce Driving Rules: Parents need to set limits on how much their teenager is driving in high risk situations such as driving at night, during inclement weather, and on the weekends. Also, it is crucial to limit the number of passengers in the car as evidenced by the statistics stated above. Curfews and check in times need to be established. Creating a balance between a teenager following the rules and having a sense of freedom can prove to be a difficult task for parents. Many educational programs encourage the use of a parent-teenager driving contract. The contract should outline the accepted driving and safety practices that need to be followed with the consequences listed when the agreement is broken. It needs to be emphasized that the established rules are meant to keep them safe.

*Spend time In the Car: A teen driving with adult passengers in the car significantly reduces their risk of being involved in an auto accident. The AAA Foundation study showed that a teen driver aged 16 or 17 carrying a passenger aged 35 or older can cut the risk of being killed in an auto accident by 62 percent. In addition, that teen driver’s risk of being involved in a police reported crash showed a 46 percent decrease. Even if your teen has his or her license, ride in the car with them. Help protect your teen by continuing to provide your support and guidance in helping them become a safer driver.

*Share the Car: Research shows that it is best for a teenage driver to share a vehicle with their parents instead of having their own. Teens who have to ask to use the car are more likely to drive carefully in turn decreasing their risk of having an accident.

Messa & Associates – Personal Injury Attorneys in Philadelphia & New Jersey

Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys encourage all teens as well as their parents to be actively involved in the educational campaigns about safe driving behaviors. Automobile accidents among the teenage population can lead to an early death or serious personal injuries that can affect the rest of their lives and that of their families.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of an automobile accident, contact one of our skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys. Our motor vehicle attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced in handling all types of cases involving car, truck, motorcycle, and other motor vehicle accidents. With offices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we are a team of compassionate, dedicated personal injury lawyers who provide exceptional legal representation to our clients. Our goal is to protect your rights, successfully litigate your serious injury claim, and secure the financial compensation for your injuries and suffering. We offer free and confidential consultations. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw (1-877-637-7252) or submit a free online inquiry.

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