100 deadliest days: Why is summer so dangerous for teen drivers?

Teen drivers are at an increased risk of involvement in a fatal accident from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recently released a publication warning parents to stress caution for their teen drivers. The publication states that teen drivers are at an increased risk of involvement in a fatal car accident during the summer months. More specifically, researchers state the most dangerous period of time is the hundred days that fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Just how deadly are the days from Memorial Day to Labor Day? When it comes to teen driving accidents, these months are very dangerous. AAA reports that from 2014 through 2019, 3,500 people were killed in automobile crashes during this time period. Previous reports provide similar findings, with an average of 10 people killed per day over these 100 days, often in crashes involving teenage drivers.

How can parents help their teenagers exercise extra caution while driving? Education and experience are two key factors that will reduce the risk of an accident. It is important to allow teenagers to practice their driving skills in safe conditions. Have curfews and limitations on who can be in the vehicle with them until they have more experience.

The experts with AAA also encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers that come with driving during the summer. This often includes nighttime driving. The organization reports 36% of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occur between the hours of 9:00 pm and 5:00 am. Teenagers are more likely to be out late during summer months, as school free evenings may lead to a relaxed curfew. Discuss the dangers that come with driving at night. Include everything from being tired to decreased visibility.

It is also helpful to discuss common causes of these deadly crashes. Speeding accounts for 28% of these accidents. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and driving while distracted are common causes. Discuss the need for teenagers to drive within posted speed limits, and to refrain from alcohol or drug use as well as resisting the temptation to use a smartphone while driving.

Parents can also put together a driving agreement. The agreement can serve as a contract between the teenage driver and the parents. It can include statements that the teenager will not operate a smartphone while driving or will only operate the vehicle within an accepted speed limit. A failure to abide by the contract could result in restricted or lost car privileges.

What if a loved one is injured in a car accident? Even when we teach our children to make good choices, accidents can happen. If the accident is severe, compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit if the accident is the result of another driver's negligent or reckless actions.

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