July deadliest month of year for teen drivers

8:35 AM, Jul 25, 2013   |    comments
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(AP image)

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) - Studies show traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 20, with most of those accidents happen during summer months.

According to AAA the number of teen drivers on the roads increases by 44 percent in the summer. That, coupled with the lack of experience young drivers have can be a recipe for disaster.

"The evidence is that the first six months once they do get their license is still very crucial," said Bob Engler, a Century Driving School Instructor.

The number of those fatal accidents peak during summer months of June, July and August, with July being the deadliest month. Approximately 5,000 teens die each year in motor vehicle crashes.

But, driving experts say parents can play a huge role in minimizing the risks.

"It is all about developing defensive driving habits for a lifetime. Habits take a long time to develop. We can expose them to the habits but and hopefully their parents actually work with them on those same habits," said Engler.

Engler suggests parents constantly talk to their young drivers about things like always wearing seat belts, not speeding, defensive driving - and a big one is to minimize distractions in the car. Those distractions include the radio, cell phones and other passengers.

"Especially when they start driving their parents cars because the parents don't have an extra brake. They don't have an extra rear view mirror. and you get even one friend in the car, even a brother or sister and it can be totally distracting because they are not used to that," he said.

In fact, just adding one other passenger doubles the crash rate. With two more more additional people in the car and the crash risk for teen drivers increases fivefold.

AAA Michigan has a website devoted to educating parents and teens on ways of staying safe behind the wheel.

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