For teens, the period running from Memorial Day through Labor Day ranks as one of the best of the year. That’s because school is officially out, meaning they are free from homework, able to earn much-needed income at summer jobs and, of course, hang out with their friends far more often.
On the other hand, the period running from Memorial Day through Labor Day ranks as one of the worst of the year for parents, emergency responders and safety advocates. That’s because it’s come to be known as the “100 deadliest days,” a timeframe in which the average number of teen driving fatalities has been shown to rise by as much as 15 percent compared to the remainder of the year.
Experts have long theorized that this phenomenon has everything to do with inexperienced teen drivers simply being able to log more miles and spend more hours behind the wheel owing to the absence of school. In other words, inexperience behind the wheel coupled with increased road exposure proves to be a deadly mix for teens.
As if all this wasn’t alarming enough, researchers with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study last week showing just how much more at risk new drivers are at any time of the year — let alone the 100 deadliest days.
Specifically, the researchers analyzed the crash rates per mile driven across all age groups and determined that for every one mile driven, 16-17 years olds are:
- 2 times as likely as drivers between 30-59 to die in a crash
- 5 times as likely as drivers between 30-59 to get into a crash
- 6 times as likely as drivers 18 and up to die in a crash
- 9 times as likely as drivers 18 and up to get into a crash
As disturbing as these figures are, AAA did offer some simple steps that parents can take to help their teen drivers:
- Create a safe-driving agreement establishing family rules
- Set a good example for teens by wearing a seat belt, obeying the speed limit and eliminating distractions
- Have an open and honest discussion about safe driving practices
Here’s hoping for a safe summer ahead …
If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to the recklessness of another motorist, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional committed to seeking justice on your behalf.