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Summer Means Teen Drivers and Car Wrecks

Car wrecks are the leading cause of death for teenagers, as Vianna Davila reports for the Houston Chronicle. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has nicknamed summer the "100 deadliest days."

Here, Davila reports the following "top factors" that lead to car accidents involving teens:

  • Driving at night
  • Distracted driving (such as texting while driving)
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving

According to a father who lost his son in a car wreck: "It's four immature minds in one missile, rolling at 70 miles per hour at 3 in the morning." In the particular car accident he describes, the driver (his son James Peterson) and his son's passengers had been drinking and were out driving late at night.

Peterson was apparently speeding down a Texas highway when he lost control of his pickup truck and flipped down an embankment. The passengers survived, but Peterson was crushed and died at the scene.

As Davila reports, Peterson's father said, "If you add cell phones to the nighttime risk, it's like a perfect storm," referring to one possible factor as to why his son lost control. (Peterson's father Tim was not able to get the mobile phone records for that night.)

Peterson was only 18 years old when he died.

And he was one of 366 teens to die behind the wheel in Texas in 2009, according to Davila. Nationwide, 422 teens are killed per month on average during the summer; the number of teens killed per month in all other months is 363.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Data: 100 days of summer deadliest for teen drivers," by Vianna Davila, 06/13/11

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