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Teen Drivers Increase the Injury Risk for Everyone on the Road

Most teen drivers don’t get behind the wheel with the intent to harm others, but their inexperience and high-risk behaviors can still lead to tragic results for themselves and others on the road. According to a new AAA Foundation study, nearly two-thirds of Americans injured or killed in teen driving accidents are not the teens behind the wheel.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we are concerned by the study results, particularly as we enter the busy summer driving season. As we have previously mentioned on this blog, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is dubbed the "100 Deadliest Days" because of the spike in motor vehicle crashes involving teenagers. In 2013, an average of 220 teen drivers and passengers died in traffic crashes during each of the summer months, which represents an increase of 43 percent over the rest of the year.

The AAA Foundation’s latest study on teen driving accidents examined federal crash data from1994-2013 for accidents involving drivers aged 15-19. The results revealed that almost half of those injured were traveling in another vehicle, while 17 percent were occupants in the teen driver’s vehicle. Two percent of the injury victims were non-motorists, such as pedestrian and bicyclists. With regard to fatal teen driver accidents, nearly 30 percent of those killed were occupants of another vehicle, 27 percent were traveling in the teen’s car, and 10 percent were non-motorists.

“Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group, and this data confirm that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Since teens drive more during the summer than any other season, this insight is a timely reminder to everyone—drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists— to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers.”