The risk of car accidents increases immensely during the summer months. Specifically, most car accidents occur during the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While July Fourth is historically the deadliest day on the roads, August is historically the deadliest month of the year for car crashes across the country. In addition, according to historical data tracked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1986 to 2002, Saturday and Friday are still the two deadliest days to drive, and rush hour from 3:00 – 6:00 pm remains the deadliest time to drive. Not surprisingly, the same held true as of 2010 as well.
More recently, research by Driving-Tests.org, an online learning site for new drivers, revealed that summer remains the deadliest time to be on the road. More than 27% of annual traffic fatalities occur during July, August and September. One possible reason for the increased number of fatalities in the summer may be due to the fact that according to AAA, teen driving increases by 44% during the summer months. Indeed, per the NHTSA, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, accounting for over 35% of all fatalities for 15 to 20 year olds. While this statistic may not be all that surprising, the fact that driving while intoxicated is not the leading the cause of death for crashes involving teens might indeed be. Instead, over 75% of serious car crashes involving teens are due to “critical errors.”
Unfortunately for Texans, according to the NHTSA’s FARS Data, in 2011, Texas was the most dangerous state for drivers in the U.S. with over 3,000 traffic-related fatalities. Moreover, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, as is the case in the rest of the country, July and August were the two deadliest months for car crashes in 2012.
Being aware of the increased accident risks are important so that you can better protect yourself while driving during the summer months. Specifically, the following steps are recommended to increase driving safety, especially for teen drivers.
• Minimize driving at night: Teens should be off the roads by 10 p.m., when teen crash risks sharply increase. If this is unrealistic, teens should at least try to avoid driving between midnight and 3:00 a.m. since that is when drunk drivers leave bars and parties.
• Wear your seat belt: In 2011, 60% of all 15 to 20-year-old passengers who passed away in car crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. In addition, Texas law requires that all passengers wear seat belts.
• Watch your speed: According to the NHTSA, speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of car crash deaths.
• Minimize distractions: Drivers under 20 years of age represent the greatest proportion of distracted drivers — the percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving (NHTSA).
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident this summer, or any time throughout the year, call the San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw toll-free at 1-800-862-1260.