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Teen accident rates surge in the summer months

New York residents may not be surprised to learn that inexperienced motorists are more likely to be involved in an accident than those who have spent decades behind the wheel, but they may be shocked to learn just how much of a danger teen drivers represent to other road users. Data compiled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that accidents involving teen drivers claimed 2,927 lives in 2013, and individuals other than the teen motorist made up about two thirds of these fatalities.

The safety group released its findings at the beginning of the busy summer driving season when teens are most likely to be out and about on the nation's roads. The researchers looked at accident data collected between 1994 and 2013, and they found that when teen drivers crashed, occupants of the other vehicles involved suffered about half of the injuries and 30 percent of the fatalities. Occupants of the teen's vehicle made up 17 percent of those injured and 27 percent of those who lost their lives.

Fatalities among teen drivers and their passengers surge by more than 40 percent during the summer months, and the AAA has long advocated graduated driving license schemes and more comprehensive driver education to reduce accident, injury and fatality rates. Lawmakers and educators in many states have heeded this advice, and crashes involving teen drivers decreased by more than half between 1995 and 2015.

Those who are injured in an accident caused by a negligent teen driver may pursue civil remedies, but minors rarely have the resources necessary to pay significant damages. New York state law allows vehicle owners to be sued when others, who have been given permission to use their vehicles, behave recklessly and cause an accident, and personal injury attorneys may sometimes initiate lawsuits against the parents of negligent teen drivers or their insurance providers on behalf of accident victims.

Source: Findlaw, "New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §388", accessed on May 31, 2016

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