Beware of the 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers
Posted on June 5th, 2021 by Zane Cagle
Memorial Day Weekend launches the typical 100 deadliest driving days for teens. Car crashes are the number one cause of deaths for teens, more than homicides and suicides combined. National Safety Council designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. They offer free resources for parents to help their teens build experience to be safer drivers in an effort to reduce or end teen driver fatalities.
An average of 12 young people loses their lives in car crashes each day.
Teen drivers are faced with a number of risks, discussed below:
Teens generally think they know how to drive when they get their licenses, but all you have to do is take a ride with one of them to realize there are many scenarios they are not yet ready to handle. Practice is the best remedy for this issue. Parents are encouraged to ride with their teen frequently to monitor their driving progress. Just 30 minutes a week with you as the passenger in the car can make a big difference. Many states require a minimum number of practice hours before they get their license, but whether it is required by law or not, the safest way for your teen to gain experience and develop good driving skills is for you, the parent, to ride with them. Driving preparedness has nothing to do with whether or not your kid is a “good kid” or “responsible behind the wheel”—the point is they are NEW drivers and inexperienced. All teens are inexperienced and subject to the same risks.
Currently, 43 states have laws that restrict 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 the study, more passengers increased loud conversation and increased horseplay–it makes sense as those are characteristics of simply being a teen!
Crash statistics show that handheld and hands-free phone use is dangerous distracted driving. Teens are even more at risk for crashing while using their phones.
- Another young person in the car as a passenger is the number one distracting factor for teen drivers. Talk to your teen about all possible distractions.
- Applying make-up,
- using the internet,
- looking for things in the glove box, and
- eating while driving are other distractors for teens, just as they are for adults. Another teen in the car with a teen driver increases a teen driver’s crash risk by 44%. Your teen doesn’t have to be the driver to be in danger. Be sure if your teen is in the car, it is clear where they are going, how they are going, and who is driving, including night driving and the length of the trip.
We’ve all done it, and it is unsafe for all drivers. However, it is especially unsafe for inexperienced drivers. Speeding is bad driving behavior, and you shouldn’t pass it onto your kids. Generally, teens know that speeding or “racing” is unsafe and the usually speeding that teens do is just a little over the posted speed limit. The danger is that they are not experienced enough to know how their car will react. Expose your teen to different traffic flows and road conditions.
Even in this age of awareness, many people still do not wear their safety belts–it’s the law. Teens are part of the population least likely to wear their seatbelts even though they are the population most likely to need them! Impress upon your teen the importance of using a seat belt so that it becomes second nature.
Dusk, dawn, and night are times of the day that are the hardest for visibility. At night, even familiar surroundings may look different under street lights or car headlights. Crash rates increase for everyone at night, not just teens. Night driving increases risks for teens. Mile for mile, 16 and 17-year-old drivers are about three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash at night versus day. Research shows that approximately 16 percent of teen driving fatalities (ages 15-19) occur between 9 p.m. and Midnight. Fatigue can become a factor as well.
Drinking and driving is a lethal combination regardless of age. When it’s an inexperienced driver, the risks are even higher. In all 50 states, there are zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving. The myth that drinking coffee or taking a cold shower helps an impaired driver is still a myth.
Responsibility for safe driving rests on the driver. However, as a parent, you know that your teen is a new driver and inexperienced. Like all parents, you want to do everything you can to keep your teen safe.
While I was a teen, I was able to drive countless country miles with my father at an earlier age, but that is more of the exception than the rule and wouldn’t have helped me out much in gaining experience on city streets. Even as a new driver at age 16, I was not an “experienced driver.” A new driver in the family causes parents to worry. However, DriveitHome.com has many useful guides, suggestions, and plans for parents to actively participate in their teen driver’s safety.
The number of motor vehicle fatalities of teens is alarmingly high, and at The Cagle Law Firm, we applaud initiatives focused on reducing and/or eliminating teen fatalities. The fatality of a young person or their serious injury is shocking and disturbing for all of us. When we see the promise of a young person ended by a fatal or serious car accident, we all lose.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. Just as no two people are alike, car crashes can be unique. If you or someone in your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should at least consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri before talking with insurance companies, so you are prepared.