If you have a teenager, you know what it means to worry, and one of the biggest recurring worries occurs once a teen is old enough to drive. You’re an adult, so you realize how dangerous the roads can be. You’ve probably been in an accident yourself, perhaps even a serious one.
What are the “100 Deadliest Days”? They are the period of time from Memorial Day to Labor Day, when the number of crashes climbs, especially among teen drivers. Our youngest licensees are especially vulnerable because they are likely to be new, inexperienced drivers, with more time on their hands to hit the roads because they are out of school. Add in more passengers in the car, distracting conversations, and possible peer pressure, and you can imagine how things could go terribly wrong.
What the AAA Foundation Discovered
In the five-year period previous to June, 2016, over 5,000 people died in crashes that involved at least one teen driver during the “100 Deadliest Days” time period. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one of the reasons vehicular deaths increase more for teens during this time period is because they drive more during the summer. The study, along with a follow-up, also showed:
- Distractions played a part in almost 60 percent of teen crashes.
- Texting and social media usage while behind the wheel appears to be increasing among teens.
- Deaths from teen-driver crashes (ages 16 to 19) went up by an average of 16 percent each day during the 100-day period, compared to days during the rest of the year.
The follow-up study, which used crash videos from in-dash cameras, also discovered that the top three teenaged distractions while driving were:
- Talking or interacting with passengers: 15 percent of crashes
- Using a cell phone in any way: 12 percent of crashes
- Reaching for or looking for something inside the vehicle: 11 percent of crashes.
How Can I Help My Teen?
First, talk with them. Explain that the odds are not in their favor during the 100 Deadliest Days, but that you’re not trying to interfere with their fun—you only want them to be safe. Consider suggesting the following behaviors to them:
- They should keep their cell phones muted and out of reach so that the temptation to see “just one text” can’t be easily fulfilled.
- They can use navigation systems or mobile maps, but only if they enter their destination before they start driving.
- They should pull over safely before answering a ringing phone.
- They should limit the number of passengers in the car and their interactions with the passengers. You might consider a rule that covers how many others are allowed to ride with your teen.
- Warn them of the dangers of reaching for things on another seat, or looking for things while driving.
- Eating should occur only while parked or inside a restaurant, not while driving a moving vehicle. Eating is one known cause of distracted driving.
Set a Good Example
One last thing you can do to help your teen driver is to watch your own behavior. Children learn by mimicking us: if Mom or Dad does it, they figure it must be all right. Therefore, don’t exhibit distracted driving behaviors. According to a 2012 survey from Liberty Mutual, teenagers reported how often they saw their parents drive while distracted:
- Parents who texted and drove: 59 percent. Teens who texted and drove: 78 percent.
- Parents who talked on a cell phone while driving: 91 percent. Teens who talked on a cell phone while driving: 90 percent.
- Parent who broke the speed limit: 88 percent. Teens that broke the speed limit: 94 percent.
Don’t be that parent. Help your children learn good driving habits by showing them how it’s done.
The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the personalized attention you deserve. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a vehicular accident, or other accident where another person is responsible, it’s important to make sure that you understand your legal rights. Personal injury cases require a thorough investigation by an experienced legal team to determine which individuals and companies should be named as defendants, and which legal theories should be pursued. South Carolina law can be complex, and there is a deadline for filing a claim. As the initial consultation is always free, reach out to us at the Louthian Law Firm by calling today at 1-803-454-1200, or by filling out our online contact form.