For many, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer. And as teens begin to spend less time in school and more time on the road, it also marks the beginning of the 100 most deadliest days of the year for teen drivers.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), teens are already three times more likely as experienced drivers to be involved in a car crash due to inexperience, immaturity, lack of seat belt use, and distracted driving. In fact, 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal traffic crashes were distracted at the time of the crash, according to Distraction.gov. Throw in a combination of more free time, later nights, driving with friends, driving faster, and recreational driving during the summer months of June, July, and August, and the risk of a crash increases.
AAA reports that an average of 261 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the summer months each year, a 26% increase from the rest of the year. In 2012 alone, 997 people died in traffic crashes involving teenagers during the period between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA further reports that 88% of those killed were teen drivers.
Keep your teen driver safe this summer with these summer driving safety tips from the NSC:
- Talk to your teens about wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way drivers and passengers can protect themselves in the event of a crash.
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving. Make sure your teen knows that these dangerous driving behaviors are 100% unacceptable. If you need extra help enforcing such rules, consider installing a breathalyzer in your teen’s car or downloading AT&T’s DriveMode® app on your teen’s phone.
- Limit your teen’s number of passengers. According to the NSC, one teen passenger increases a teen driver’s risk of a crash by 44%. You should also limit your teen’s time as a passenger of another teen driver.
- Enforce driving curfews. The NSC recommends a curfew no later than 10 P.M.
- Create a parent-teen driving contract. Having your teen driver sign a written agreement can help set and enforce driving rules and keep your teen accountable.
- Keep driving with your teen. Spend at least 30 minutes per week driving with your teen driver even after he or she gets a driver’s license.
Parents should also follow these summer driving safety tips to set a good example for their teens and to keep themselves safe on the road this summer and throughout the year.