Memorial Day signals the start of ‘100 deadliest days’ for teen drivers
Heads up, parents. Memorial Day 2016 is right around the corner and it is the beginning of the “100 deadliest days” for new and inexperienced teen drivers. As posted by the National Safety Council on May 23, this year’s 3-day holiday weekend could be the deadliest since 2009. The NSC estimates 439 may be killed on America’s roadways, with an additional 50,500 seriously injured. The unofficial start of summer is also the beginning of the “100 deadliest days” for teens, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when more teens are killed in auto accidents than any other time of the year.
“As Americans gear up for the most carefree months of the year, we cannot take our safety for granted,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO. “Driving is one of the riskiest things we do every day. Engaging our defensive driving skills and staying alert can mean the difference between attending cookouts and family parties or spending the evening at the emergency room or worse.”
The Council believes the spike in fatal car crashes is due in part to an improving economy and lower gas prices. Certain crash factors, such as speeding and alcohol, are more common during the summer, too. For teens, they have more time on their hands, so they’re out and about more. Plus, they may have more passengers in the car than when they drive to school or work.
To help stay safe on the roads this summer, the Council recommends:
- Make sure every passenger buckles up every trip. The Council estimates 104 people could be saved this Memorial Day holiday if they just buckle up.
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation.
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue on long trips.
- Never using a cell phone behind the wheel, even a hands-free phone.
- Stay engaged with your teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer.
Below are a few summer driving tips for teen drivers and their concerned parents from Drive Smart Georgia.
- More time behind the wheel – Teen drivers average 44% more hours behind the wheel each week during the summer (23.6 hours) than during the school year (16.4 hours). Do not hesitate to limit their driving until you as a parent are comfortable with cutting them loose.
- “Piling In” – 23% of teen drivers are more likely to drive with three or more teens in the car in the summer, compared to 6% who are more likely to do so during the school year. This sky rockets the chance of your young person having an accident by more than 40% with just one passenger being in the car with them. There is nothing wrong with extending the 6-month law that enforces a Georgia teen driver cannot have anyone in the car until six months have passed.
- Put Down the Phone – 16% of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes are distracted. Texting or talking on the phone – combined with the inexperience of a new driver is a recipe for disaster. Set the ground rules early about using phones in the car and be sure to enforce conquences.
- Later Nights – 72% of all teens report that they stay out later during the summer than during the school year. Additionally, 47% of teen drivers are more likely to drive late at night during the summer, compared to 6% who are more likely to drive late at night during the school year. Again, just because they are eligible to stay out late at night does not mean they have to!
- Heavy Eyelids – 24% of teen drivers are more likely to drive when tired or sleepy during the summer, compared to 9% who are more likely to drive fatigued during the school year. Make sure your teen is well-rested before getting behind the wheel this summer.
Think hard and drive smart during the 100 Deadliest Days for teens!
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