While most people know Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start to the summer season, they may not realize it is also the start of the 100 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are generally when teen driving deaths spike, CNN reports. This is the time of year when teens are out from school and eager to get on the road.
Teen drivers face a heightened risk of car accidents during the summer months as they tend to use their vehicles more for recreational purposes, rather than simply commuting to and from school. This often results in teens driving in areas that are completely unfamiliar. In addition, many teen drivers pile friends in the car with them, despite the fact that passengers pose a dangerous distraction to inexperienced drivers.
Summertime Car Accident Statistics
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle-related collisions are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Approximately 2,650 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents, and another 292,000 suffered injuries requiring treatment in emergency rooms in one year’s time.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 45 percent of teen driver fatalities take place on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Car accident deaths among teenagers were highest during the months of June, July and August, accounting for almost 30 percent of all vehicle-related accidents involving teenagers. Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend are two of the most dangerous holidays for drivers overall.
Steps Teen Drivers and Their Parents Can Take to Avoid Crashes This Summer
Fortunately, most teen driving accidents are preventable. When young drivers and their parents work together they can lower the risk of injury or death during the summer travel months.
The following are just a few of the actions teen drivers and their parents can take to avoid collisions:
- Have each party sign an agreement that sets out rules and expectations for the teen driver.
- Make sure the driver and passengers always buckle up. Even when going on short trips, seat belts should be worn at all times.
- While it may seem fun to pack a bunch of friends into the car and head to the beach, a park, a party or another summertime activity, teen passengers can dramatically increase the risk of a collision by up to fivefold. For the first 12 months a teen driver has his or her intermediate license, no more than one passenger under the age of 21 can ride with the driver, unless it is a family member.
- Prohibit the use of cell phones or any other handheld device while driving. Even hands-free device use should be restricted to minimize the risk of distraction. Phone calls, text messages, emails and other communication can all wait. None of these is worth risking your life.
- Be sure you are well rested before you get behind the wheel. Driving on too little sleep can cause you to become drowsy and crash.
- Agree upon a curfew time for teen drivers. At the intermediate stage of the graduated driver licensing (GDL) program in Rhode Island, teen drivers are prohibited from driving between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
- Practice together often. Enrolling in a teen driving safety class is also recommended. These classes can help teen drivers practice defensive-driving techniques, as well as allowing them to gain more confidence behind the wheel.
Parents should always set a good example for their teen drivers. If your child sees you practicing responsible driving behavior, he or she will be more likely to do the same.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims in Rhode Island
If your teenager sustains injury in a car accident this summer, particularly if it was caused by another driver’s negligence, get legal representation. With the help of an attorney, you can pursue justice on your child’s behalf and you will be afforded the opportunity to seek the compensation your child needs to facilitate his or her full recovery.
The Providence personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to motor vehicle accident victims and their families. Call us or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.