If you have a teen who can’t wait to use their new driver’s license to go to the beach and other popular Southern California destinations this summer, you probably don’t want to hear that the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days” for teens on the road. However, that moniker has some real statistics behind it, and the more you know about them, the more you can help your teen stay safe.
The summer months have traditionally brought an increase in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. However, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost two-thirds of people injured or killed in those crashes are not actually teen drivers themselves.
The leading causes of fatal teen crashes
The three leading causes of crashes among teen drivers (in order) are:
- Speeding: Speeding, of course, can increase the severity of a crash. Maintaining the speed limit is one of the easiest driving skills to learn. However, in one survey, almost half of teens reported that they’d exceeded the speed limit on a residential street and almost 40% reported speeding on the freeway.
- Alcohol and drugs: Even though teens can’t legally drink alcohol, over half of the teen drivers in fatal crashes have had alcohol in their system. While recreational marijuana is also illegal for anyone under 21, we all know that teens can and do find it easily.
- Distractions: While most California teens don’t remember a time when holding a phone while driving was legal, that doesn’t mean they don’t do it. Even in-board systems that let you listen to emails, voice mails and texts and respond without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road can be highly distracting. Of course, it’s easy to be distracted by any number of other things, from music to food to passengers (including the four-legged variety) and more.
The head of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reminds parents that “it is important to continue educating [teens] about safety behind the wheel, so they avoid the reckless behaviors that put themselves and others at risk on the road.”
By avoiding these behaviors, they’re also better prepared if another driver does something reckless. Teen drivers aren’t always the ones responsible for crashes in which they’re involved. If your teen was injured by another driver, don’t let them take the blame, and don’t hesitate to seek the compensation you need for expenses and damages.