Teens and young adults may have earned the stereotype for rash decision making and a dangerous desire to engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel, but those stereotypes may be driven by real statistics. In fact, data regarding teen driving accidents show that car accidents are consistently a leading cause of injury and death among young adults. During the summer months, the risks increase substantially.
Because more teens and young drivers are off from school during summer vacation, many choose to exercise their freedom by hitting the road. Unfortunately, this commonly results in a surge in teen driver accidents. According to researchers from AAA, this surge is so pronounced that safety officials have dubbed the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teen motorists.
During the summer months, crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19 increase by 16%! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reports that more than 10 teens die per day on roads and highways across the U.S. during the 100 deadliest days of summer. If you have a teen driver in your family, it’s important that they know the risks they face and the responsibilities they have whenever they get behind the wheel. To help you address these risks, we’ve put together the following information:
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving has become a nationwide epidemic on public roadways, and is believed to be one of the primary forces behind substantial increases in highway deaths. While all forms of distraction are inherently hazardous, the most concerning are cell phone use and texting, two things teens love to do. Because using a phone and text messaging commands multiple forms of a driver’s attention, however, they can significant increase crash risks. Make sure your teen driver knows that using their phone the wheel can come with consequences that forever change their lives and the lives of victims they may potentially harm. They should also know that all drivers are prohibited from texting while driving in the state of Wisconsin, and that novice drivers are also prohibited from cell phone use.
- Drunk or drugged driving – While teens may not be old enough to legally consume alcohol, that has not stopped millions of teens from drinking and driving. Drunk and drugged driving accidents continues to be one of the leading causes of preventable deaths on our roadways, and they increase during summer months when parties and celebrations are commonplace. Your teen driver should understand the criminal consequences of driving under the influence, and should be taught to never get behind the wheel after drinking or using any type of drug, including marijuana or prescription medications. Even if you don’t approve of drinking, your teen should know that there are safer alternatives to a safe ride if they do drink, such as taxis, rideshare apps, a sober ride, or even a call to mom and dad if it means not getting on the road while impaired.
- Passengers – Teens and young adults spend a lot more time with friends during the summer. When they get behind the wheel, their friends can create significant distractions that may cause them to lose vigilance and not make the task of safely operating their vehicle a priority. Check your teen’s license to see whether there are provisions that limit the amount of passengers they can have, and speak with them about always focusing on the road if they do have passengers.
- Speeding – Speeding remains one of the most common causes of car wrecks, especially among teens and young adults who want to go fast. Unfortunately, younger drivers don’t always have the experience to make reasonable driving decisions or to make safety-critical driving actions when they’re going too fast. Teens should always drive at the speed limit, and should reduce their speeds when the circumstances warrant doing so, such as during heavy traffic, poor weather, and in construction or school zones.
Teens can greatly reduce their risks of accidents by making safety a priority. However, not all risks can be eliminated, especially those posed by negligent drivers. Fortunately, victims injured in preventable wrecks caused by negligent motorists have the right to hold them accountable and liable for any damages they caused. If you have questions about car accidents and personal injury cases, our legal team at Casey Law Offices, S.C. is readily available to help. Contact us for a free consultation!