Distracted driving takes a deadly toll during summer months

Driving on Pennsylvania’s roads during winter months is often no easy feat. Given the region’s average snowfall and icy precipitation, driving adjustments are often required to adjust to accommodate unfavorable road conditions. Not surprisingly, many drivers in the region greet the summer months with a sigh of relief.

Why, then, does data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis from AAA indicate that a certain 100-day time period during those warm driving months is the deadliest? In a word: teenagers. Beginning with Memorial Day and continuing until school resumes, a national average of 1,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents involving drivers age 16 to 19 have occurred in the past five years. That amounts to over 10 deaths during each day of that 100-day summer stretch.

According to a review of dash-camera videos, nearly 60 percent of the recorded fatal crashes involved a teenager talking or texting on his or her cell phone. Of course, distracted driving can cause a fatal crash for drivers of any age. However, it seems that teenagers are particularly prone to texting or using social media while driving. To put that ubiquity in perspective, a Pew Research Center study found that over half of teenagers send an average of 80 texts per day.

As a personal injury law firm that has brought many wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of surviving family members, we view texting while driving to be akin to impaired driving. A driver cannot monitor traffic and road conditions if his or her eyes are on a cell phone. For that reason, we have made some of our most compelling jury presentations about this negligent behavior.

Source: USA Today, “AAA: 100 ‘deadliest days’ of summer: Teens on the road after Memorial Day,” Bart Jansen, June 1, 2016