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High schools all over the Bay Area are closing for the summer break, leaving teens with unfettered freedom after months of hitting the books. If you are a parent of a teen who is of driving age, your son or daughter has probably already begun making a host of summer plans that involve the use of a vehicle. But before you toss your teen the keys, consider some sobering statistics.

Memorial Day weekend heralds the start of a deadly driving season for inexperienced teenage drivers. A spokesperson for the National Safety Council, citing statistics from 2015, noted that from June through August of that year, nearly 1,000 teens age 15 through 19 lost their lives in vehicle collisions in the United States.

The reasons for the lethal uptick are straightforward. Teens have more free time during breaks from school and may even have extended curfews over the summer months. Those age 16-17 have roughly triple the risk of being in a fatal accident when driving at night as opposed to the daylight hours. In fact, nearly 16 percent of the fatal accidents involving teenagers age 15 to 19 occur in the three-hour window from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Another risk factor is the addition of more teen passengers in the vehicle with inexperienced drivers. The NSC spokesperson said even a single teenage passenger up the risk of a fatal collision by 44 percent, and “As many as three [teen passengers] can increase the fatal crash risk up to 300 percent.”

Because parents can’t delay the inevitable forever, they need to supervise new drivers and impose strict rules and consequences when those rules are broken.

If your teen gets hurt in an accident while riding in a car with an at-fault driver, you may be able to pursue a claim for any medical bills, as well as other compensation for his or her injuries.

Source: KING TV, “Summer is typically the deadliest time for teen drivers,” Heather Bosch, May 31, 2017

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