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The 100 Deadliest Days for Teenagers

When you think of injuries that occur more frequently in the summer months, you probably think of boat-related accidents, sunburns, or injuries involving excessive heat. However, the summer is also a very dangerous time for drivers – specifically, teen drivers.

As it turns out, the summer months are so hazardous that they are referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days by AAA. It makes sense when you consider the fact that teens are free from school for the summer, the days are longer and teens have more time to get out on the road. Yet, teens are also less experienced drivers and more likely to be involved in car accidents than other types of motorists.

Teen Drivers and Distraction

According to AAA, accidents involving teen drivers increase 16 percent per day during the summer months. This increase in teen driving accidents is likely due to a number of factors, though research has shown that a major contributor is distraction.

Distracted driving is a contributing factor in up to 60 percent of crashes involving teen drivers. The first thought people might have after reading that statistic is of a teen using their cell phone while behind the wheel. But even though that is certainly a big factor and a major concern for all drivers, the biggest source of distraction is perhaps more unexpected.

Extra passengers in a teen’s car can be a source of significant distraction. The National Safety Council suggests that passengers can raise a teen’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash by at least 44 percent.

When a teen has passengers in their vehicle, there will typically be more noise, more conversation, louder music – in short, more passengers equals more opportunities for distraction. These numbers are surely concerning for parents, but the good news is that the majority of vehicle accidents – and all accidents caused by distraction – are preventable.

What Lessons Can We Teach Teen Drivers?

There are many bits of wisdom we can impart to our newly licensed teens that would increase their safety behind the wheel. Here are a few things that all teen drivers should keep in mind.
• Avoid extra passengers. This means that, whenever possible, they should avoid giving rides to large numbers of friends. The more inexperienced a driver, the fewer passengers they should have in their vehicle.
• Put away the phone. A no-phone policy is the only policy for ANY driver, not just teens. Put the phone away before starting the vehicle, either in a glove compartment or in a back seat, if necessary.
• Never ride with a drinking driver. Even if your teen will never drink alcohol, they should be on the lookout for other drivers who have been drinking, and they should never be a passenger in the vehicle of a drinking driver.
• Don’t drive while tired. The overnight hours are a particularly dangerous time for all drivers, due to a number of factors, including the likelihood of fatigued or drowsy driving accidents. If at all possible, encourage your teen not to be out on the road late at night.

Nearly every adult driver was also once a teen driver. Think back to your teenage years and remember the hazards you faced, even if you weren’t aware of them at the time. Teens today face even more hazards than their parents did, especially when it comes to distraction behind the wheel. It’s also important to keep in mind that it is only through more driving experience that we become better drivers. While that might be intuitive, it is easy to forget when your teen starts driving. Be patient and encourage your teen to be as safe as possible.