Teen Safety During the 100 Deadliest Days

The 100 deadliest days of summer are almost here. These deadly days are the summer days after many schools have let out, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when more teen traffic fatalities historically have occurred. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, during the 100 deadliest days of summer more than 1,050 people died in crashes involving teenage drivers. This figure averages out to over 10 people dying each day, which is a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year, according to the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety.

Fatality Facts During the Deadliest Days

The data shows that speeding was one of the biggest factors in teen accidents during this time period. In fact, 29 percent of the motor vehicle deaths involving teen drivers were related to speed. The other major factor was driving at night. Of the fatality accidents, 36 percent happened between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Nighttime crashes involving teenagers increased by 22 percent during the deadliest days of 2016, compared to the rest of the year.

Additionally, distracted driving and not wearing seatbelts are also major reasons for teen accidents and deaths.

South Carolina Nighttime Driving Restrictions

When it comes to nighttime driving, it’s important for teens and parents to remember that there are state laws that restrict when teenagers can drive. Teenagers who are not yet 17 years old and haven’t earned their full driver’s license privileges are restricted as to when and with whom they can drive at night in South Carolina:

  • Conditional license for 15 year olds: With a conditional license, teens are required to have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old in the car while driving between 8 p.m. and midnight during summer daylight time. (During standard time, hours are between 6 p.m. and midnight.) Between midnight and 6 a.m., teens with a conditional license may drive with a parent or legal guardian.
  • Special restricted license for 16 year olds: The nighttime restrictions are the same as for a conditional license, except that teens who have this restricted license can ask for a waiver of time restrictions if the restrictions adversely affect work, school or other vocational or employment opportunities. They will need to show statements from both parents and school or work officials.

What Parents Can Do

AAA recommends that parents frequently communicate with teenagers about their driving, including discussing risky behaviors, not only during the deadliest days, but all year long. Speeding and other traffic violations are not only dangerous, they can also affect a teenager’s ability to get a full license. For example, teens who are younger than 17 who accrue 6 or more points on their driving records for violations or at-fault accidents, if they haven’t held a restricted license for a year, face having their licenses suspended for six months.

Young people learn by example, so parents should also model safe driving habits themselves. Additionally, AAA recommends setting driving rules and limits that are stricter than state laws.

Experienced Columbia Car Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been in a car accident, our knowledgeable attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm are here to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.