According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the 100 days spanning from Memorial Day to Labor Day are marked with more fatal crashes than any other point during the year, especially for teens.
It only makes sense that more teen drivers are on the road during the summer months. School’s out and many spend their time working, playing sports, hanging out with family and friends or volunteering their time. Unfortunately, the crash rate for teen drivers is four times that of adult drivers. Additionally, they are at a higher risk for distraction behind the wheel and are also more likely to engage in high-risk activities like speeding or underage drinking and drug use, AAA reports.
The organization notes that from 2011 to 2020, an average of seven people per day died in teen driver-related crashes during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Fortunately, statistics show that something can be done to lower those odds. AAA reports that parents have a more positive influence on their teens than they likely believe. Studies show that teens who say their parents set rules and support them are half as likely to crash as those who say their parents are not as involved.
The association recommends that parents supervise their teen’s driving and that can include creating rules and limits spelled out in writing through something like a teen/parent contract.
It’s also crucial to have conversations with young drivers about distracted driving. Michigan law bans texting while driving for all drivers and Kelsey’s Law prohibits cell phone use for Level 1 and Level 2 license holders.
When it comes time to choose a vehicle for a teen driver, AAA said that safety must trump image. Teens should drive vehicles, preferably mid-size and large sedans, that reduce their chances of being in a crash and offer protection in case of an accident.
Finally, the last parent tip from AAA is the simplest but perhaps the most challenging—lead by example. That means when an adult gets behind the wheel they must follow the rules of the road, always wear a seatbelt, obey the speed limit, never drink and drive and not talk on a cell phone or text while driving because their young passengers are paying attention.
The summer months should be fun and carefree for everyone. Encourage the young driver in your life to stay safe behind the wheel so the 100 days of summer can remain as enjoyable as possible for them and their friends.