These Are The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

Teen drivers face more hazards during the summer months than at any other time of the year. According to the AAA, teen drivers are three times more likely to be in a fatal car accident from the end of May to the beginning of September.  An average of 10 people a day die in traffic accidents involving teen drivers in summer and 50 percent of these crashes involve only one vehicle.  While accidents happen, most of these fatalities were the result of reckless driving and 100 percent preventable.

The consistent uptick in teen fatalities during the summer has resulted in a terrifying nickname for the stretch between Memorial Day and Labor- the ‘100 Deadliest Days.’ Long Island parents must be aware of the risks their teen drivers can encounter on the road this season. Promoting safe driving behaviors can significantly reduce your teen’s reckless driving habits and their chances of a fatal traffic accident in the future.

Teen Driving Fatality Facts

Vehicle crashes have been the leading cause of death among teens for decades. In 2017, a total of 2,734 teenagers ages 13 to 19 died in car crashes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (I.I.H.S.). Over 1,200 of these fatalities occurred within the 100 Deadliest Days. July was the most dangerous month for teen drivers, totaling 272 fatalities in 31 days.

Some days of the week are safer for teen drivers than others. Over half of teen driving fatalities in 2017 occurred on the weekends. Of the 2,734 fatalities reported:

  • 399 occurred on a Friday;
  • 506 occurred on a Saturday; and
  • 478 occurred on a Sunday.

The time of the day your teen is driving matters when it comes to their safety. Nearly 50 percent of fatal teen driving accidents occurred between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight (474 fatalities), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (442 fatalities) or 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (444 fatalities).

Summer Reckless Driving Trends

Teen drivers account for a small percentage of motorists on American roads. Their crash rates, on the other hand, are through the roof. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), these are the risk factors leading to teen driving accidents in the summer:

  • Inexperience: Teens are more likely to underestimate deadly driving habits than adult drivers, taking more unnecessary and aggressive risks.
  • Speeding: Teen drivers are more likely to speed and leave shorter headways. Speeding is responsible for 31 percent of teen driving fatalities.
  • No Seatbelts: Teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use among all driving. About 66 percent of teens who die in a car accident are not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Drinking and Driving: About 25 percent of car crashes involve an underage drunk driver. Teens are 67 percent more likely to try their first drink over the summer and lack the understanding of how substances affect their bodies.
  • Driving Distracted: Distractions on the road are responsible for six out of ten vehicle crashes for teen drivers. Loud music, extra people in the car, and electronics can all take a teen driver’s attention from the road.
  • Cellphones: Studies show teens in the current generation are far more likely to use their cellphones when driving. Over 94 percent of teens admit texting and driving is dangerous, yet, over 35 percent admit they do it anyway.

Preventing Teen Driving Fatalities

Spreading awareness about the 100 Deadliest Days is the first step to preventing teen fatalities this summer. Long Island parents can do their part by reviewing the driving statistics with their teens and encouraging safe driving habits year round. Addressing these safety topics can help get the conversation started:

  • Buckle Up: Driving or riding without a seatbelt is deadly and against the law. Make sure your teen knows to buckle up every time they get into a car as a driver or a passenger.
  • Limit Distractions: Review the most common distractions teens fall victim to behind the wheel. Establish car rules that discourage the use of electronic devices, loud music, or too many passengers to keep your teen alert.
  • Put The Phone Away: Some parents ask their teens to put their phone out of sight and out of mind. If this method doesn’t work, utilize free apps to prevent cellphone use while driving.
  • Encourage Sober Driving: Educate your teen on the dangers of driving while impaired. Review the zero-tolerance laws in New York and the deadly consequences. If they do drink, create a safety plan for how they will get home.
  • Make Adjustments: Most teens don’t know how to prevent fatal airbag injuries. Parents should show their teens how to adjust the steering wheel, seat, and mirrors for the ultimate protection when driving.
  • Create a Driving Contract: Consider creating a Parent-Teen Driving Contract with your teen. Setting ground rules will show your teen you are serious about their safety and encourage them to think twice about risky behaviors.

Be Your Teens Driving Role Model

You can advise your teen on safe driving until you’re blue in the face. But the most significant impact you can have on your teen driver is to show them. Check your driving behaviors for speeding, aggressive maneuvers, or distractive habits. Most teens get their first driving lesson watching their parents from the backseat. Teach your kids early about the dangers of reckless driving and remind them it’s a privilege that can be lost.