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Summer Can Be Deadly Driving Time

California attorney John Bisnar of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, along with his team of researchers, recently collected facts about summertime driving and found some interesting trends. According to the statistics available, summer can be a very dangerous time to drive.

The summer season is usually bookended by two holidays, Memorial Day and Labor Day, rather than the summer solstice and fall equinox dates. During the 100 or so days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, traffic accident rates tend to go up. According to FARS, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following data were collected for the year 2009, the most recent year available. The following data shows the total number of fatal car accidents per month and the fatal crash rate per millions of vehicle miles traveled, or VMT from May through September 2009.

By comparison, the other months of the year averaged only 2,425 total fatalities and a VMT rate of 1.01.

While there are spikes in automobile fatalities during the fall, winter, and spring months, especially around major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, the overall rate during the summer is much higher than during the rest of the year.

Mr. Bisnar commented that there are some obvious reasons that summer driving can lead to more fatal accidents. "People are on the road much more during the summer months, are traveling long distances for vacations, are traveling with more passengers, drivers may be less diligent in their relaxed vacation mind sent and they may be subject to more distractions. It stands to reason that more cars on our highways will equal more car accidents and more passengers will lead to more injuries and fatalities." Mr. Bisnar also noted that August was the month with the highest total fatalities, and attributes this to the fact that not only are families still vacationing but many students are traveling to schools and colleges.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also tracked an increase in deaths of young people between the ages of 13 and 19 during the summer months, lending support to this theory. It is possible that this increase of fatalities among young drivers may be attributed not only to a more mobile summer population but to the increase in alcohol consumption common during vacations and school breaks. The fact that high school students are often out of school during these months while their parents continue to work may also lead to more teens driving and less attention to their safety.

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