The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a time for sun, fun, and vacation for many. Summer is here, and while this is a great time for families to take it easy, it is not time for parents to relax when it comes to keeping their kids safe. In fact, the AAA Foundation refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer because, on average, two teenagers die every day during these 100 days – an increase of 26% compared to other months of the year. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for these teenagers, who also have the highest crash rate for any age group.
According to statistics, the primary cause of these deadly car crashes is distracted driving, which accounts for 60% of all teen crashes. And teens report that distracted driving involves more than just cell phones. In fact, the top distraction for teens—accounting for 15% of all crashes— is passengers distracting the driver. Cell phones are the second biggest distraction, causing 12% of all teen-related crashes.
Other than distracted driving, impaired driving and a failure to follow the rules of the road also account for a large percentage of teen crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
There are simple ways to keep your teenager safe as they start summer break and their time behind the wheel increases.
- Teach them to Obey the Rules of the Road.
Car crashes can often be prevented by taking simple steps and following the rules of the road. That means that teens need to use seatbelts and make sure that passengers also use their seatbelts. Teens should also be taught to keep a safe distance from the car in front of them and to slow down. Seat belts, safe distances, and proper speed are all simple ways to increase safety on the road.
- Talk to Teens About Never Driving Impaired
Despite teens not being able to legally drink, impaired driving was cited as a factor in 17% of fatal crashes involving a teen driver. Data shows that 1 out of 6 teen drivers involved in a fatal crash during the summer tested positive for alcohol. Driving sober saves lives. Tell your teen that if they do end up impaired, for any reason, they should call home for a ride or use Uber or Lyft ridesharing apps to make sure they get home safe. Encouraging teens to tell their friends to stay sober, drive sober and to never drive impaired, will save lives.
- Explain the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Encourage your teen to put their phone away. Distracted driving alone causes more crashes than any other factor. Research which phones have special safety features, like the iPhones which have settings that detect when you are driving and block all incoming notifications, and consider buying one for your teen. Teach your teen to use these settings and to put their phone away. In a 2017 survey, 52 percent of teen drivers reported reading a text message or email while driving and nearly 40 percent reported sending a text or email.
Educating teens about the dangers of distracted driving, driving impaired and breaking the rules of the road, will save lives. Keep your teen safe by talking to them about the summer accident statistics for teens and the major causes of teenage car crashes, and encourage them to make safe driving decisions and to put their phones down.
If, despite careful driving, you have been injured by the negligence of a teen or older driver, please call us at 630-527-1595 for a FREE evaluation of your case. Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you.