For many teenagers, school’s out for the summer. With a bit of newfound freedom, they may pick up a side gig, take a day-trip to the beach or just drive around with friends. Now is a good time to remind them that the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the “100 deadliest days” of the year.
This summer, the hazards are even greater. Teens have been cooped up for weeks or months during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re more anxious than ever to escape the bonds of parental supervision. This situation creates the “perfect storm,” an environment in which the chance of teen accidents and fatalities may be even greater than usual during the summer.
Streets have become more dangerous because there are more cars on the road. Some states are opening up and a lot of teens have been itching to get out of the house.
In the event of a motor vehicle accident, you’ll find that the personal injury team with Jebaily Law Firm is a ready resource. We have a proven track record of getting full and fair compensation for our clients while treating them with respect and compassion.
Why Are These the Deadliest Days?
Summer is a particularly deadly time, especially when it comes to teens. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has dubbed June through September as the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers because of higher rates of fatal crashes involving teens.
Too often, teen drivers are injured or even killed because they are taking unnecessary risks, like speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting while driving, or not buckling up. Even just having other teens in the car can pose a hazard.
Young drivers are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations or not recognize potentially hazardous situations than older drivers, said Candace Lightner, president of WeSaveLives.org and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). This may be the time to relax and plan for summer fun but it is not the time to relax while driving, especially for your teens.
Why Are Teens Most Affected?
Crash statistics tell the story. “The last decade of crash data shows that teens continue to be over-represented in crashes and summertime marks an increase of fatal crashes for this age group,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation.
The dangers are greatest among novice drivers. “Our data analysis has found that for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults,” he said. In addition, in half of all fatal crashes in the United States, teen drivers were not wearing a seat belt.
Why are teens most affected? Although they recognize the dangers of distracted driving, they engage in these behaviors anyway. It’s no surprise that they receive more texts and calls than any other age group. The impulse to respond is often irresistible for a young person.
Teen Driving Risks
Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. In fact, they are likely to assume unnecessary risks. According to the AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:
- Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
- Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
- Texting (35%)
- Red-light running (32%)
- Aggressive driving (31%)
- Drowsy driving (25%)
- Driving without a seatbelt (17%)
Summer is the time of year when teen accident rates are higher than usual. According to AAA, drinking, speeding, and distractions are among the top killers on the road during the warmer months. In fact, during the 100 days, AAA projects 10 people a day will die in crashes involving teen drivers. This is 26% higher than in other months.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that teens at especially high risk for motor vehicle crashes include:
- Male teens
- Teens driving with teen passengers
- Newly licensed teens
Increases in teen driver fatalities come at a time when cars have more built-in safety features than ever before. Federal laws have made airbags mandatory since 1998. Newer vehicles are equipped with stability control systems, anti-lock brakes, rear-view cameras, and other smart safety features. Yet despite these advancements, Americans are increasingly dying on our roadways – and many of them are teens.
How to Stay Safe on the Road
As a parent, you’ve spent years developing influential relationships with your children. It’s time to put those relationships to work. Most important is to model safe behavior when you’re behind the wheel. Your teen is unlikely to take your advice seriously if you don’t follow it yourself.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation urges parents to boil down the advice into five straightforward, easy-to-remember rules:
- No cell phone
- No extra passengers
- No alcohol or drugs
- No speeding
- Buckle up
Tips for Talking About Road Safety with Teens
Breaking the teen culture of feeling invincible, especially in highly dangerous situations, is an ongoing challenge for parents. Still, there are ways you can keep teens safe this summer. Share statistics with them so they know what could happen if they’re not careful.
Emphasize the potential danger to others. Tragically, everyone is at risk when a teen driver is behind the wheel. Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a teen-driver crash are people other than the driver, according to AAA data. Victims can be passengers in your teen’s car or those in other vehicles.
Teens may roll their eyes when faced with such statistics. After all, that’s what teens do. But parents should not relent. Look for timely moments to keep the conversation open. Talk with them at the breakfast table, leave notes by their keys, and set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions. It can be a great way to spend time together while improving some basic driving skills. Focus on teen driver safety tips that can make a difference. Keeping the discussion going can help ensure that our roads and teen drivers stay safe.
Should your teen become a victim in a serious automobile accident – or if you are involved in a crash caused by a teen driver – Jebaily Law Firm can be the first step toward peace of mind 24/7. We’ll evaluate your case and pursue the outcome you deserve. If the COVID-19 pandemic is of concern to you, we offer virtual appointments at your convenience.