Attractions like Disney World make Florida one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations, but all of that additional traffic makes driving in the Sunshine State particularly dangerous during the summer months. According to the AAA, more people die on the nation’s roads in the 100 days following the Memorial Day weekend than at any other time of the year, and research conducted by the auto organization indicates that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are especially likely to be involved in an accident.
After studying data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the AAA determined that more than 1,000 people lose their lives each year in the 100 days following Memorial Day in car accidents involving teen drivers. While it may not be surprising that the number of accidents involving young drivers increases when schools are closed, AAA researchers believe that recent years have been particularly deadly because more and more teens are using cellphones while behind the wheel.
Analysis of footage captured in the moments before a crash on more than 2,000 dashboard cameras between 2007 and 2015 reveals that cellphone use or other driver distractions played a role nearly 60 percent of the time, and a study conducted by the NHTSA between 2007 and 2014 revealed a significant increase in the number of young drivers using mobile electronic devices. With teens sending an average of 80 text messages each day, road safety advocates fear that the summer months could become even more deadly in the years ahead.
When accidents are caused by negligent teen drivers with limited resources, attorneys may initiate litigation against the vehicle owners or insurance providers. Under a legal principle known as the family purpose doctrine, parents in some states may be held legally responsible for the negligent actions of children who have been given permission to drive a family vehicle.