The “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Driving” occurs annually, roughly May through September or between Memorial and Labor Day. The rationalization behind this is that kids are driving more due to the holidays and their summer breaks. Often times; teens are driving with less parental supervision as parents continue to work through the summer. The likelihood of a young person being involved in a driving fatality significantly increases at this time of the year and in fact; studies have shown that fatalities more than triple during these months. This is especially significant for those with less than 6 months of driving-time experience. Additionally, teens drivers lack driving maturity, are more likely to speed and make careless mistakes, they are less likely to utilize seatbelts and can become distracted easily. This is especially true teens have other passengers in the car riding with them.
According to American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occur during these 100 days. Sadly, these statistics do not count for the many teens who lose their lives prior to arriving to a local hospital or Trauma Center.
Lee County leads in teen driving fatalities, followed by Collier, Charlotte and then Hendry County.
Parents play a key role in keeping teens safe while driving.
Talk with your teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous driving behavior while behind the wheel (speeding, impairment, distraction, aggressive driving, running red lights etc.).
Parents should lead/teach by example by exhibiting safe driving habits while on the roadway.
What are the “Danger Zones” for Teen Driving?
Make sure that you and your teen(s) are aware of most instances that can cause motor vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities.
- Driver inexperience—practice at least 50 hours or more (all times of day and weather)
- Driving with teen passengers (limit passengers first 6 months)
- Nighttime driving (practice different times of the day)
- Not using seatbelts (buckle up every trip, all the time)
- Distracted driving, put all distractions away. Cell phones should be placed out of reach and turned off
- Drowsy driving, ensure teens are driving only after having adequate rest (minimum of 8 hours per night)
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving (alcohol or drugs) call family or friends for a ride if they need help
- NOT buy their teens high horsepower vehicles
- NOT buy mini or small vehicles. Bigger and heavier vehicles are usually safer than smaller ones
- ESC (Electronic Stability /control) is a must for teen drivers
- Always check for the highest test crash rating
What is the biggest distractions for teens in the car that parents should be mindful of?
~ The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of teen drivers with each additional passenger. According to AAA, Distraction involved in 58% of teen crashes. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers. According to We Save lives, a survey of high school students showed 39.0% texted or emailed while driving at least once in the past 30 days of the survey and 60% of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving.
For more information about teen driving visit: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving
~ Tracey Thornton, BSHA
Lee Health Trauma Injury Prevention