The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers. In fact, according to AAA, more than 2,000 teen drivers will be killed nationwide during that period. Car crashes involving teen drivers spike during this period in large part because teens are out of school and so they have more time to be out on the roads. Do you know the risks for your teen driver? Read on to learn about the dangers and safety tips for preventing the most common killer of teens.
Let’s start with the scary statistics:
- Seatbelt use is lowest amongst teen drivers and 52% of teens who were killed in car accidents were unbelted.
- Speeding is a factor in 31% of all teen car accidents.
- Teen drivers are 2 ½ times more likely to engage in risky behavior if they have a passenger in the car.
- Phones are not the only distraction for teen drivers. Eating food, putting on make-up, passengers and other things can be fatal distractions.
- Roughly 20% of fatal car crashes involving 15- to 18-year-olds involve alcohol or drug use.
So what can you do? Here are some steps parents can take to help reduce the risks to their teen drivers.
- Imitate the type of driving you want from your teen. Do not drive distracted. Drive the speed limit, etc.
- Talk to your teens regularly about the harm to themselves and others from bad driving habits. For example, 2,300 people a year are killed by teen drivers and that is a terrible burden to carry for the rest of their life.
- As for drinking and drugs, remind them that they can go to juvenile detention or jail. They can lose scholarships or college acceptances. There is an enormous financial cost in terms of fines, court fees, attorney fees. Remember: anyone under 21 should not have any alcohol in their system – not just be below the .08 threshold of drunk driving.
- Use widely available apps to monitor your teens driving.
- Set consequences and follow through. Use a driving contract to outline expectations such as no speeding. Sample contracts are available on most car insurance websites and you can modify it to suit the needs of your family. If your teen violates your house rules, then enforce the consequences whether it is making them pay for the speeding ticket and insurance increase or losing their driving privileges for a while, etc.
- Make sure your teen understands the Tennessee graduated driver’s license rules for passengers in their car.
- Make sure your teen has had plenty of driving practice in all types of conditions including rain, night driving, heavy traffic, interstate, etc. Pursuant to Tennessee law, teens must have 50 hours of driving with an adult and 10 of those must be during night time hours.
- Talk to your teen about not riding with someone in unsafe conditions whether it is too many passengers, a driver who is under the influence, a driver who regularly speeds or engages in other reckless behavior, etc. Develop a plan so that your teen knows what to do if confronted with this type of situation. It can be as simple as: “My parents have decided to pick me up” and then they call or text you for a safe ride home.
Quite simply, too many teen drivers think their skills are better than they are, and most teens do not think of the consequences. Regular reminders and enforcement of rules by parents can go a long way in preventing teen accidents.
We hope everyone has a safe summer. We are here if you need us.
Toll-Free: 866-812-8787 (we represent clients across the State of Tennessee)