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Summer months particularly dangerous for teen drivers

Teen drivers in Texas and around the country are more apt to be involved in motor vehicle accidents during the summer months than during other periods of the year, according to research conducted by the AAA. The findings were released as the Memorial Day weekend heralded the beginning of the busy summer driving season, and it was the increased number of teen drivers on the road that the AAA cited as the main reason for the increased accident rate.

According to the research, which was based on federal accident data, about 1,000 people will lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and the beginning of the new school year. Distractions such as using a cellphone to send or receive text messages while behind the wheel was singled out as a factor in a great many of these fatal accidents. These dangers were highlighted by a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study that found texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash.

However, passengers may be even more distracting to teen drivers than cellphones. University of Iowa researchers studied dashboard camera footage of the six seconds prior to accidents between August 2007 and April 2015 involving teen drivers. While cellphones were a factor in 12 percent of the crashes studied, talking to passengers provided the distraction in 15 percent of the accidents.

People who are injured road traffic accidents caused by negligent younger drivers may pursue civil remedies, but teens rarely have the resources required to pay significant damages. In these situations, personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation against the insurance company involved or the parents of the teen driver under what is known as the family purpose doctrine. This legal principle that has been adopted in several states allows parents to be held responsible for the reckless behavior of their children who they have permitted to use their vehicles.

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