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Teen drivers in Kansas most susceptible to crashes in summer

Summer's carefree days can be a joyous memory for teenagers. The freedom to socialize with friends minus school obligations is a three month treat. Insurance experts say summer is also the most hazardous time for teen drivers whose inexperience and immaturity can cause deadly auto accidents.

Graduated driver's license programs in many states including Kansas have helped teens earn a full-time place on the road. New drivers learn step by step to take on different traffic situations. Restrictions require adult supervision and remove distractions, like same-age passengers and electronic devices.

The graduated license programs may have kept the accident death rate among teens low for several years. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported teen fatalities were in decline for eight years before 2011 when statistics reversed.

Nineteen percent more 16- and 17-year-olds died in car wrecks in the first half of 2012 than in the previous year during the same period. The death toll already was up in 2011.

Teen driver education program, Tire Rack Street Survival, claims an average of eight U.S. teenagers died daily in summer car accidents over the past five years. The deaths were among drivers aged 16 to 19, an age group who frequently engages in risky driving behaviors.

Experts say many teens tailgate, speed, abandon seat restraints, or text or talk on cellphones. Fatal crash rates increased dramatically when same-age passengers were along for the ride.

Advisers encourage parents to expose teens to a well-rounded series of traffic experiences like high-speed, nighttime and poor weather conditions. Kansas driving laws restrict teens by age. Only a parent can decide whether a teen's maturity has developed enough to get behind the wheel.

Teens like other motorists may be held liable for auto accidents that cause others harm. Crash victims and family members can consult with an attorney about compensation for injuries or deaths caused by a minor.

Source:, "Summer is Most Dangerous Time for Teens on the Road" No Author Given, May. 24, 2013

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