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Teen drivers at high risk for Phoenix car accidents during long summer break

Nine teenagers a day die in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We continue to report the high risk of serious and fatal Phoenix car accidents faced by teen drivers during the summer months. Our Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog recently reported the death of three motorists in a car full of teenagers; authorities believe the accident may have been caused by street racing.

The Arizona Department of Transportation reports a total of 119,588 crashes killed 842 motorists and injured more than 37,000 people in 2008. Drivers under the ages of 24 accounted for 114 fatalities and more than 9,000 injuries.

In all, motorists under the age of 20 accounted for 114 fatalities and more than 11,000 injuries. Those statistics mean that nearly one-third of all injury accidents in Arizona involved someone under the age of 20.

The USA Today recently reported that teenagers face the highest risk during the summer months. Not surprisingly, less parental supervision, more free time, more night driving, more driving with friends and fewer curfew restrictions were identified as leading causes.

“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,” said Justin McNaull, state relations director for AAA. “There’s a very different environment both outside and inside the vehicle.”

Over the course of the year, 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays are the deadliest times for teens on the road. But that is a distinction that blurs during the summer, when every day is a weekend day.

The National Safety Council is offering a free download of its Family Guide to Teen Driving Safety.

AAA has issued its 10 Teen Driving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

Risk Taking: Don’t let risky behavior impact the rest of your life or the life of someone else on the road. Accidents don’t just affect you, they affect passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, children and families.

Unbuckled Belts: Wear your seat belt and insist that all passengers wear their seat belts.

Speeding: Don’t speed and don’t drive faster than conditions permit. Speeding is a leading cause of teen car accidents — one-third of teen fatalities involve speeding.

Rowdy Passengers: Young drivers riding with a passenger increase their risk of a car accident by 50 percent. Riding with two or more passengers, the risk of an accident increases fivefold.

Cellphones: Don’t use a cell phone or text message while driving. Studies show that teens are at the highest risk of a distracted driving car accident.

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

Nighttime Driving: Crash rates for teen drivers from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. are twice as high as they are during the day.

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

Peer Pressure: Make good decisions about when and with whom you choose to ride. Don’t ride with a driver you don’t trust and never ride with an impaired driver or in an unsafe vehicle. Never ride in a vehicle with more passengers than it can safety accommodate.

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

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Phoenix injury attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (602) 819-5191 today.

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