What does this mean for us as we watch our young people load up the car for fun in the sun and drive off to the beach? It can bring on great worry for parents. But, it should mean that we must remind our young drivers to remain vigilant and make sure that we provided them with every safety tip available and then some!
The months between Memorial Day and Labor Day have the highest number of teen driving fatalities.
As reported by Triple AAA, National Safety Council and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- An average 260 teens are killed in car crashes each month during the summer, an increase of 26% compared with the other months of the year.
- Motor Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.
- Teens have the highest crash rate of any age group.
- 60% of teen crashes today are caused by distracted driving.
- Surprisingly, the top distraction for teens is other passengers, accounting for 15% of teen driver crashes, compared to 12 % caused by texting or talking on a cell phone.
- For every 100,000 Americans under the age of 21, 1.2 people were killed in drunk driving fatalities in 2015.
- “Not only are teens themselves more likely to die in car crashes, they also have the highest rates of crash involvement resulting in the deaths of others, including passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.” – Newsday
Their lack of driving experience can make them underestimate dangerous situations and combine the lack of driving experience with a teen driver who might be impaired, speeding or distracted, and you have a recipe for disaster.
In preparing for the 100 deadliest days, AAA encourages parents to talk with their teens about the dangers of driving under the influence, speeding and distracted driving. Parents can:
- Start the summer off with a parent-teen driving agreement to clearly define your teen’s driving responsibilities, privileges and consequences and set the stage for a safe summer.
- Take the time to talk with your teen about the dangers of driving impaired, or riding with a driver who is. Be sure to mention all the other risks involved with underage drinking and drug use.
In addition, WeSaveLives.org reminds us that getting arrested for driving drugged or drinking can ruin the potential for a college education, a good job, and increase our insurance, and not to mention the fines. There are some practical things to consider here that we often forget in our hurry to see our young people have fun.
- It also means that parents should not be serving alcohol or other drugs at parties, and we, too must eliminate distractions behind the wheel and always drive sober. According to the National Safety Council a recent survey reported that 91 percent of parents who use their cell phones do it in front of their teens knowing that they are “one of their teens’ primary driving teachers.”
- Give them permission and encouragement to call you if they are in a potentially bad driving situation. Let them know you will pick them up without recriminations.
- Empower them to show courage and decline a ride from a friend who has been drinking or taking drugs, and that driving in a car with a driver who can’t take their finger off the cell phone is not only hazardous to their friend’s health but their own. Saying “no thanks” may make the difference between life and death.
- Encourage them to sign the Courage to Intervene Promise.
At Williams DeLoatche, P.C. we encourage parents to help your teens stay on track especially during the carefree summer months. Help them make safe decisions when they’re behind the wheel that could save their lives.
We are here to help serve you should you need assistance with any legal matter involving an unfortunate traffic accident. You can contact us 24/7 at 757-547-5555.
Triple AAA, National Safety Council and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WeSaveLives.org, Newsday