The 100 Deadliest Days: The Dangers Facing Teen Drivers

The 100 Deadliest Days: The Dangers Facing Teen Drivers

Your teens may be looking forward to summer fun right around the corner, but it’s time for parents and guardians to step up their road safety efforts. This holiday weekend marks the beginning of the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers.

Every year, AAA reports that American roads see a 14% increase in fatal car accidents involving teen drivers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Between 2010 to 2019, more than 8,300 teens nationwide lost their lives to preventable traffic accidents. This trend started in 2008, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The National Safety Council (N.S.C.) estimates that 450 fatalities could occur over Memorial Day weekend if driving behaviors continue from years prior. An uptick in parties, alcohol consumption, and a general carefree atmosphere are often the precursors to summer traffic accidents. Unfortunately, with reckless driving trends already at record highs, some experts predict the 100 Deadliest Days in 2022 could result in even more tragedies than years past.

All New Yorkers can do their part this summer to reduce the number of preventable car accidents. From staying alert on the roads to talking with our teen drivers about safe road behaviors, we can help make a significant difference by working together as a community.

Risk Factors Affecting Teen Drivers

Teen drivers in 2022 are learning to drive on some of the most dangerous roads of all time. They already lack the experience to navigate the road and hazards that may arise; now, road congestion, distractions, and reckless drivers plague the road and make motor vehicle accidents imminent, even among veteran motorists.

Summer-related driving factors that pose an additional threat to teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days include:

· Alcohol and Drug Consumption: Studies have found that teens are more likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs for the first time during the 100 Deadliest Days. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that June and July are peak months for teens to use and start experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Because they are not used to the effects these substances have on their body, they are more likely to drive under the influence, maximizing the risk of accidents occurring.

· Parties and Gatherings: More parties and gatherings are thrown during the summer months than any other time of the year. The more parties that occur, the more opportunities teens have for alcohol and drug use and to run into trouble on the roads.

· Distractions: Driving distractions explode in the summer months. Teens are more likely to have an uptick in passengers in their vehicles which can cause distractions for the driver. Windows go down, the music starts blaring, and there is always something outside the vehicle drawing a driver’s attention. Additionally, smartphones are still a major driving distraction that teens rely on (especially in the summer) to stay in touch with classmates and friends.

· First-Time Summer Drivers: Most teens start learning to drive in the summer months for several reasons: no school, more extended holidays, favorable road conditions, and the ability to attend driving schools. This means that more teen drivers are also obtaining their driver’s licenses in the summer and hitting the roads independently, without an adult checking their judgment or reminding them of hazards to watch for.

· Seatbelt Use: The U.S. Department of Transportation found that teens are the most likely group of drivers to neglect wearing seatbelts in the car. While this can become a risk all year round, it’s prevalent in the summer months when teens are more likely to attend gatherings and overpack their vehicles with passengers.

· Night and Weekend Driving: Studies by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration show that night and weekends are the most dangerous times to drive. Risk factors include lack of visibility, busier roads, and increased drunk driving. Teen drivers take advantage of nights and weekends to visit friends after summer jobs. This puts teen drivers at an elevated risk considering the number of other risk factors stacked against them.

How to Reduce Memorial Day Accidents

We can help reduce teen driving accidents this summer by starting the conversation now about the dangers of the 100 Deadliest Days. Education is key to sparking action when it comes to safe driving. The more information and examples you provide, the higher your chances of inspiring change.

Some of the steps you can implement before Memorial Day weekend kicks off include:

· Limit your teens driving hours. A study by Reuters found that teens with limited driving hours are less likely to be in a fatal car accident than those with free range to the driver. Create a schedule with your teen with available driving hours and offer rides during night and weekend hours when possible.

· Review basic safe driving behaviors often. Keep an ongoing conversation with your teen about the importance of safe driving and provide simple tips the reduce accidents on the road. This includes mirror placements, turn signal use, or local traffic laws. Jump in the car with your teen to see how they are doing, and never assume they know everything about the vehicle or the laws simply because they passed their driving tests.

· Ensure your teen understands the dangers of drinking and driving. Review the stats on drinking and driving, talk about the impairments, and create a plan for what happens if your teens find themselves needing a safe ride. Create a sobriety pact for driving as a requirement for using family vehicles. Find more information on talking to your teen about alcohol and drugs through Ask Listen Learn.

· Help your teen reduce driving distractions. Remove anything in the vehicle that could pose a distraction that is not necessary. Teach your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and get them in the habit of putting their phone and belongings out of reach to prevent temptation. Create a car rule that limits the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle and encourage your child to keep their music at a volume that will enable them to stay alert to the road.

· Don’t allow teens to drink in your home. Allowing teens to drink in your home is normalizing the behavior outside of the home. Studies by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have found that children who drink within the home are more likely to drink heavily outside of the home. You are not protecting your teens by allowing them to drink at your residence to avoid drunk driving. It is not only illegal but could result in the opposite effect in the future.

Overall, the best thing you can do for your teen is to keep the conversation going and set a positive example. If your teen sees you speeding, talking on the phone when driving, or driving after drinking, they may follow in your footsteps.

Don’t take risks this weekend. Stay alert, stay safe, and have a wonderful Memorial Day.

Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

The attorneys at Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein have been fighting for the rights of accident victims for over 60 years. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another, it is important to work with a law firm that has experienced trial attorneys with proven results.

To speak to one of our attorneys for a free case evaluation, please call 212-227-1212.