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Teens at highest risk of Massachusetts car accidents during height of summer

Nine kids a day die in car accidents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a recent report by the USA Today found that summer is the most dangerous time of the year for teenage car accidents.

As we reported earlier this year on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, parents need to remain proactive in warning their children about the dangers of being involved in a serious or fatal Massachusetts car accident.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sixty-eight teens were killed in Massachusetts car accidents in 2008.

Summer is the most dangerous time of the year for teenage drivers. And the excitement surround summer holidays, including the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, can be particularly dangerous. Not surprisingly, authorities pin the increase in risk on less parental supervision, more night driving, more driving with friends and fewer curfew restrictions. Over the course of the year, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight are the most dangerous hours for teens on the road. But those statistics go out the window during the summer months.

“For many kids, every day in the summer is a weekend day,” says Justin McNaull, state relations director for auto club AAA. “Driving with your buddies to find a party at 10 p.m. is very different from driving to school at 7 a.m. on a weekday. There’s a very different environment both outside and inside the vehicle.”

The National Safety Council is offering free downloads of its “Family Guide to Teen Driving Safety.”

AAA provides the following tips and risk factors for teen drivers:

Risk Taking: Don’t do something you’ll regret for the rest of your life. Accidents don’t just affect you, they affect passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, children and families.

Unbuckled Belts: Wear your seat belt and make sure that all passengers are buckled up.

Speeding: Obey the speed limit. One-third of teen fatalities involve speeding.

Rowdy Passengers: Adding a passenger increases a young driver’s chances of an accident by about 50 percent. With two or more passengers, the risk of an accident increases fivefold.

Cellphones: Focus on the road. Don’t use a cell phone or text message while driving. Teens are at the highest risk for an accident as a result of text messaging or talking on the phone.

CD Players: Adjusting the radio is the most common distraction for drivers ages 16 to 20.

Nighttime Driving: Teen drivers are twice as likely to get into an accident from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. than they are during the day.

Drinking and Driving: One-sixth of 16- and 17-year-olds killed in crashes were legally intoxicated.

Peer Pressure: Consider the risk factors before getting into a car with another driver. Never ride in a car with a driver you don’t trust or with a driver that has been drinking. Never ride in an unsafe vehicle or in a vehicle with more passengers than can safely be accommodated.

Overconfidence: Inexperience and overconfidence frequently lead to crashes when new drivers encounter unexpected or unfamiliar situations.

If you have been injured in a Boston car accident or an accident elsewhere in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.