100 Deadliest Driving Days for Teens Have Begun–Let’s Change the Stats
Posted on June 6th, 2016 by Zane Cagle
Memorial Day Weekend begins the typical 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.
So Why is This Time of Year So Dangerous?
Last year, we blogged about this same topic as motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths. Over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen driving during the 100 Deadliest Days which is the period starting at Memorial Day Weekend.
Teen drivers are faced with a number of risks. Teen drivers usually increase in the summer due to school vacation, summer jobs and recreation. It’s the season we all look forward to having fun, especially teenagers.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study confirming that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes involve distractions behind the wheel. You do not have to be a researcher to know that teens are immersed in texting and social media. This is only problematic when they are texting, tweeting and taking selfies and sharing on social media WHILE driving.
However, distracted driving can be more than just the teen driver using their “smart phone” as research has found that when a teen has a passenger or multiple passengers, they tend to become distracted by the other people in the car through conversation or looking at things rather than looking at the road. Other distractions include: looking up things on the internet, reading, applying make-up, looking for things in the globe box and eating while driving.
By definition, teens have much less driving experience and many can be really unprepared for many driving scenarios. Driving preparedness has nothing to do with the quality of person you teen is but the time they have received guided practice so they can be responsible behind the wheel. This is true especially in metropolitan areas. When I was a kid in the country, I started driving early on the farm. It was good experience as it didn’t involve fast speeds or other vehicles, but often time city kids don’t get that kind of experience. Now that many schools no longer offer free driver’s education, parents must be sure they are teaching their kids how to drive and spending time in the car while their teen drives. Also, driver preparedness classes are offered.
Forty-three states have laws restricting the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle because multiple passengers increase a teen’s likelihood of being in a crash by three times! In studies, more passengers increased the likelihood of horseplay.
It’s unsafe for experienced drivers to speed. Speeding is especially unsafe for teens who by virtue of age are inexperienced. While speeding causes crashes for the experienced driver, inexperienced drivers lack the knowledge of knowing how their vehicle will react at various speeds on various road conditions.
Even though it is a law and we’ve had 20 years of public service announcements, Missouri is currently one of the states with the lowest seat belt usage percentages. Teens are still the group least likely to wear their seat belts even though they are the driving population most likely to need it.
Dusk, dawn and night are the hardest times for visibility. At night, even familiar surroundings can look very different under street lights and car headlights. Crash rates increase for everyone at night including teens. Per mile, 16 and 17 year old driver are about three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash at night verses the day.
First, drinking and driving is illegal and second, dangerous for all types of drivers, but especially dangerous for teen drivers since they are inexperienced. All 50 states have a zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Also, it is a myth that coffee or cold showers actually sober you up quicker. If you have been drinking, DO NOT climb behind the wheel.
Driving Includes Responsibility
As parents, we teach “responsibility” daily or attempt to do so. As a driver, you are responsible for your driving choices. As a parent of a teen, you do not have an easy job. Parenting a teen is often very difficult as you are encouraging them to take on more responsibility and independence and you are trying to keep the situation one that you can still somewhat control in case they fail.
Driving doesn’t allow a lot of room for poor driving choices such as failure to wear a seat belt, failure to drive the posted speed or choosing to drink and drive. These bad choices can result in life time consequences.
Let’s change the 100 Deadliest Days of Driving for Teens!
We are encouraging all drivers to be aware of increased summer traffic and drive defensively through obeying all traffic signs, paying attention (put your phone down) and avoiding alcohol if you are driving. Summer usually sees an increase in motor vehicle crashes due to drunk driving and increased road travel.
Do not assume that other drivers will automatically yield when they are supposed to and always allow plenty of following distance on roadways and interstates. While we have to have some trust in other drivers in order to “share the roadway”, we each have to realize the increased likelihood of crashes due to inattention and heavy traffic.
Individual responsibility for safe driving can greatly improve the safety of our roadways. Be patient, alert and sober.
If You Are Injured in a Motor Vehicle Crash
Seek medical treatment immediately and do not talk with the insurance company if you’ve been injured before consulting an expert car crash attorney. As crashes occur seven days a week, we are available seven days a week for free consultations.
Call for a free consultation at (314) 276-1681