Teen Drivers: 100 Deadliest Days of Summer
June 26, 2021
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day marks what the association calls the “100 deadliest days of summer” for teen drivers. Automobile collisions are already a leading cause of death for adolescents, but the AAA estimates that approximately 30% of annual crashes that involve teens from the ages of 16 to 19 occur during the summer months.
The heightened risk of being involved in a car crash during the 100 deadliest days of summer is significant for teen drivers. Data from the AAA shows how for every mile new teen drivers drive, they are three times more likely to be in a deadly crash as compared to experienced, adult drivers. All in all, more than seven people die in crashes that involve teenagers every day during the summer months.
Deadly Risk Factors for Teen Drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that certain risk factors play a part in the heightened dangers that teen drivers and young passengers face on the road. These factors include:
- A lack of experience, skills, and maturity that come along with being a seasoned driver
- More teens are on the road during the summertime because they are on break from school
- Teens are more likely to get distracted behind the wheel and to engage in other risky behaviors, especially with other young passengers in the vehicle. According to a nationwide Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2019, nearly 40% of high school students reported that they sent texts or e-mails while driving at least once in the 30 days before the survey
- Teens driving with teenage passengers. The risk of getting into a crash increases with each teenage passenger in the vehicle
- Crash risks are also higher during the first months of licensure. For example, the crash rate per miles driven is 1.5 times higher for 16-year-olds than it is for 18 and 19-year-olds
- Not wearing a seatbelt. Compared to other age groups, teens and young adults have the lowest seatbelt use rates. Nearly half of the teen drivers and passengers that died in automobile accidents in 2019 were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of impact
- Teens are more likely to speed and to leave less headway (or traveling distance between vehicles) than older, more experienced drivers
- Gender can play a role in crash rates, too. In 2019, the rate of fatalities was two times higher for male drivers between 16-19 than female drivers in the same age range
- Not only is driving during the 100 deadliest of summer especially dangerous, but so is driving at nighttime and on the weekends. Data confirms that in 2019, 40% of motor vehicle crash deaths among teen drivers and passengers happened between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and that 52% occurred on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Teen drivers have a higher risk of being involved in a crash than an older driver with the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, and they also face increased crash risks even at BAC levels that are under the legal limit for adult drivers
The AAA’s Safety Tips for Young Drivers
Even though some accidents are bound to happen, there are plenty of topics that parents and caretakers can speak to their teens about in order to help them stay safe while driving and when riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. By taking certain precautionary measures, teens can lower their chances of being involved in catastrophic or deadly accidents. The AAA suggests that parents conduct a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen to hone in on critical skills and to help your young driver become more familiar behind the wheel. Here are some of the association’s other helpful tips:
- Make a rule to wear a seatbelt for every trip – and be sure to lead by example
- Set limits on how many (if any) passengers your teen driver can have in his or her vehicle and enforce them appropriately
- Set a strong example on abiding posted speed limits and discuss the many dangers of speeding and driving in other aggressive manners (e.g. tailgating, getting into a verbal altercation, etc.)
- Enforce a zero tolerance policy on drowsy driving, impaired driving, and distracted driving for your teen driver
- Limit the amount of time that your teen driver spends behind the wheel at nighttime and on the weekend
If you would like to read more of the AAA’s tips for keeping teen drivers safe, you can visit: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/teen-driver-safety/.
Was Your Teen in a Car Accident?
Although teens face increased car accident-related injury risks, that does not mean that every accident they get into is their fault. Car crash victims are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, and for any pain or suffering that results from the collision regardless of their age. If your teen was in a car accident, it is a good idea to discuss the details with an automobile accident attorney who can examine the case from every angle and who will fight for the best legal outcome.
The attorneys at Galfand Berger, LLP, have a longstanding history of representing injured car crash victims. Our firm represented a client who sustained a fractured leg and fractured pelvis after being in a car accident. Although the insurance company that defended the case attempted to get our client to accept a low settlement offer, we advised our client to decline and took the case to trial instead. The jury returned a $1,000,000 verdict in favor of our client. You can read more about this case here: https://www.galfandberger.com/verdicts/auto-accidents/41-2.
If you would like to learn more about filing an automobile accident injury claim, contact a representative at our firm online now who can help.
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