Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a deadly phenomenon occurs, causing parents of teenagers to cringe as the summer season arrives- the ‘100 Deadliest Days’.
As the days get longer and the school year comes to an end, new teen drivers are out on the roads in swarms. According to a report released by AAA, teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident between the end of May to the beginning of September than any other time of the year. From 2011 to 2016, inexperienced teen drivers were responsible for over 1,600 fatalities during this fatal period, most of which were caused by reckless behaviors.
Summer Spikes Teen Recklessness
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and the spike of road fatalities in the summertime months is nothing short of terrifying. Most of these fatal accidents are completely preventable and are brought on due to immature teen drivers making these common deadly errors while on the roads:
- No Seatbelts: About 66% of teens who die in a car accident are not wearing a seatbelt. Between poor judgment and packing too many people into one car, seatbelts are often seen as nuisances rather than lifesavers.
- Drinking and Driving: About 25% of car crashes involve an underage drunk driver and it’s no wonder with endless summer parties full of booze to attend. Teens are 67% more likely to try their first drink over the summer, without the slightest idea as to how alcohol will affect their bodies.
- Speeding: In 2016, speeding was a factor in 32% of teen driving fatalities. Teen drivers are known for speeding as they gain confidence on the road, but are inexperienced when it comes to judging safe speeds to travel in order to avoid road hazards.
- Driving Distracted: Distractions in the car can increase immensely during the summer and are the cause of 6 out of 10 vehicle crashes for teen drivers. Loud music, extra people in the car, and electronics are the most popular distractions taking a teen driver’s attention from the road.
- Using Cellphones: Texting, talking, or live streaming are three of the most dangerous smartphone tasks teens are performing while driving; the worst part is they know it! According to AAA, 94% of teens admit texting and driving is dangerous, but 35% say they do it anyway, and these are only the ones brave enough to admit it.
Preventing Teen Driving Fatalities
Safety advocates around the country are spreading awareness of the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ in hopes that parents and teens will work together to help prevent unnecessary teen deaths this summer. Using professional guidance from AAA, NHTSA, the National Safety Council, and other safety organizations, here are some tips to review with your teen driver to encourage safe driving behaviors on the roads:
- Buckle Up: Not only is it against the law to drive without a seatbelt, it’s deadly. Make sure your teen knows to buckle up before they even start the vehicle. If there aren’t enough seatbelts for every passenger in the car, someone needs to get out- lap sitting is not an option!
- Limit Distractions: Work with your teen to establish a max volume for the car so they can properly hear emergency signals on the road. Teens are 2.5 times more likely to participate in risky behaviors when other teens are in the car, so ask them to drive alone or limit one passenger until their driving is more advanced.
- 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 and discourage your teens from attempting to multitask.
- Encourage Sober Driving: Educate your teen on the dangers of using substances when driving. Review the zero-tolerance laws in Maryland and make sure they understand the serious and deadly consequences of driving while impaired. If they do drink, create a safety plan with them for how they will get home safely.
- Make Adjustments: Most teens are unaware of the proper positioning for their seats to prevent unnecessary airbag injuries and death. 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 driver. Setting ground rules from the start will show your teen you are serious about their safety and will more likely encourage them to think twice about their own.
Be A Good 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 first hand how to drive safely. Monitor your own driving behaviors for speeding, aggressive maneuvers, or distractive habits as these are the first driving lessons your kids will remember before hitting the summer roads. Start teaching your young drivers early about the dangers of driving and remind them it’s a privilege that can easily be lost.
If your teen or someone you love has been injured in an accident contact our winning legal team at Siler & Ingber for a FREE case evaluation on 1-877-LAW-4343.