During the summer, more teen drivers are on the road. Are they facing a higher risk of car accidents? Unfortunately, yes. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you’ll find the 100 deadliest days of summer for teen drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Administration. The deadliest out of those 100 days are summer weekends. According to AAA, there is a 14% increase in car accidents and around 1,000 deaths during those 100 days. Teen drivers are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car accident.
Why Does Summer Driving Pose More Risk?
According to traffic safety experts, more teens are on the road because they have more free time, later curfews, and more opportunities to drive at night. Car accidents during the summer that involve teen drivers are commonly caused by:
- Inexperience behind the wheel. Driver errors account for more than half of the accidents. This includes not clearly assessing the environment while they are behind the wheel.
- Driving too fast for road conditions, even if the driver isn’t going over the posted speed limit, can be incredibly dangerous for any driver. It is especially dangerous for inexperienced drivers.
- Distracted driving. Use of a cell phone and the presence of teenage passengers contribute to an increased likelihood of an accident.
Teenage drivers are less likely to wear their seatbelts, too.
Driving Safety for Teenagers and Parents
The 100 deadly days of summer don’t just affect teenagers. Car accidents affect entire families. It’s important that parents talk to their teen drivers about driving safety. There’s no way for parents to totally ensure their teen’s safety, but having this important talk (and frequently reaffirming the conversation) can help reduce the chance of an accident. Consider discussing these points:
- The dangers of distracted driving. Texting, talking on a cell phone, reading or sending updates to social media sites, and talking to their friends in the car are all forms of distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for 15% of all car accidents involving teen drivers. Consider using an app designed to prevent your teen from texting while the car is in motion.
- Talk to your teen about underage drinking. While the number of teen crashes related to drinking and driving has decreased during the last 25 years, the CDC states that 16 to 20-year-old drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash if they have a blood-alcohol level of .08%. Additionally, if your teenager is caught drinking and driving while underage, they can face serious and lasting consequences.
- Not driving late at night. If your teen works late into the night, you may want to consider taking them to and from work. Almost 40% of fatalities during the 100 deadly days of summer that involve a teen driver happen between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM. There’s a 22% increase in teen accidents at night.
- Always obeying or driving under the speed limit. Speed limits should be followed, but if road or visibility conditions are poor, your teen should drive under the speed limit.
Teenagers Should Know What to Do If They’re in a Car Accident
Because of the increase in risk that teens face, it’s important that they know what to do if they’re in a car accident.
- Check for medical emergencies. If anyone involved in the wreck has a medical emergency call 911.
- Do not leave the scene. Leaving the scene of the accident can get you into legal trouble.
- Call the police. The police will come out and take a report. They will also help you exchange information with the other parties.
- Do not tell the other driver anything that makes it seem like you’re taking responsibility for the wreck. That includes saying, “I’m sorry.” It’s okay to ask if the other party is alright, but do not say anything that could imply you are responsible.
- Take photos of the damage to the vehicles and the scene.
- Call your parents and let them know you’ve been in a wreck.
- Get medical care. You may not feel like you’re hurt, but you could be hurt and not realize it.
Parents, if your teenager is in a wreck, they may need the assistance of a car accident lawyer to help protect their legal rights. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call Thompson Law as soon as possible after the wreck: 1-800-LION-LAW.