As Summer Draws to an End, Driving Risks Start to Decrease

According to AAA, the stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is called the “100 Deadliest Days,” due to the heightened risks of fatal car accidents involves teens during this timeframe. As summer draws to an end, however, we should start to see a decrease in this fatality rate, at least from a statistical perspective.

Summer months bring about higher fatality rates among teenagers as they drive more frequently and for longer distances, to the beach, to the pool, and to their summer jobs. The average number of motor vehicle-related deaths for individuals between the ages of 16 and 19 increase by about 16% between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, as compared to the remaining days during the year. Nonetheless, motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.

Recent studies show that distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of accidents for teenage drivers. Common distractions include talking or paying attention to passengers, using cell phones to text or talk, and looking at something inside the vehicle, such as the radio tuner. The reality is that as the number of teenage passengers increase, the risk of a motor vehicle crash correspondingly increases.

The AAA Traffic Safety Foundation recommends that parents set guidelines about teen drivers having passengers in their vehicles, as well as forbidding cell phone usage or other distracting behaviors while driving. Parents even may want to extend the period of time during which teenagers must drive with their parents before hitting the road on their own, or requiring teen drivers to refrain from driving with any passengers for a specified period of time. About 40% of fatal accidents involving teenage drivers occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Restricting a teenager to driving only during daytime hours until he or she gains more driving experience is one way to combat this risk.

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