Avoiding car accidents and injuries during the summer is the hardest time for teen drivers. Experts sometimes refer to June, July and August as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers and their passengers because an average of 422 teens died in car accidents during each of the deadly summer months—compared to a monthly average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.
High rates of speed are just one of the type of risky behavior teen drivers are more likely to engage in than the general population. For a generation that grew up with the expectation of instant communication, opportunities for distracted driving are a constant presence. Smart phones give drivers not only the ability to talk and text but also allow them to watch sports highlights or videos of friends. Functions specifically designed for drivers—such as maps with directions to a destination—can cause a driver’s eyes to be on a screen instead of the road ahead. That’s a scary proposition when you consider a car traveling at 60 mph travels the length of a football field every 3.3 seconds.
No wonder that after analyzing traffic crash data the American Automobile Association found seven of the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers and their passengers occur in summer. The 10 deadliest days for teen drivers and passengers are January 21, May 20, May 26, June 10, July 2, July 4, July 9, July 15, July 23, and November 11.
As part of its on-going effort to keep teen drivers safe, AAA offered the following tips to parents:
Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose
Nationally teens have three times as likely to have a fatal car accident as other drivers. To their credit, Idaho teens do better than the national average, but drivers under 19 are still two-and-a-half times as likely as all drivers to be involved in fatal or injury traffic collisions. The risk of a fatal crash is highest in the teen’s first year of driving. Parents should limit the number of trips the teen takes and ensure that the teen seek permission before taking the car.
Effectively coach your teen’s driving
Everyone needs practice to improve their driving skills and teens are no different. Just because a teen has managed to pass the driver’s test doesn’t mean they can’t improve as a driver. Any teen will benefit from a few years of close supervision. Parents are advised to ensure an experienced driver is supervising the practice. When deciding who counts as an “experienced driver” keep in mind that in Idaho, drivers aged 20-34 comprised 27% of all licensed drivers, yet managed to account for 33.8% of all collision-involved drivers in fatal and injury collisions. Drivers 35 and older were under-represented in traffic collisions.
Limit the number of passengers in your teen’s vehicle
Teens are more susceptible to peer pressure and more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are with others. Fatal crash rates for 16 to 19 year-olds are five times higher when two or more teen passengers are present. If multiple teens will be in the car, it is a good idea for a responsible older driver to accompany them.
Restrict night driving
A teen’s risk of a deadly crash double at night time. While the late-night hours may be riskiest, parents can lower the risk of a crash by further restricting driving at dawn and dusk.
There is no way of eliminating the risks associated with driving entirely, but close supervision and a little more effort can go a long way to making everyone on the road safer.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call 509-482-7274 for a free consultation with the experienced attorneys at Parke Gordon.
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