With annual events like proms and graduation parties, and, of course, the starts of summer vacation, teens are more likely to be on the road this time of year; but parents beware, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been labeled "The 100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers.
According to AAA, an average of 399 teens died in traffic crashes during each of the summer months (May-August), compared to a monthly average of 346 teen deaths during non-summer months. The seven most dangerous days on the road for teens during summer are May 20, May 23, June 10, July 4, July 9, Aug. 8 and Aug. 14.
What can parents do to keep their teens safe?
To keep teens safe during these dangerous months and year round, AAA Insurance suggests the following tips for parents:
- Eliminate trips without purpose.
- Limit passengers. Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone.
- Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more.
- Enroll teens in summer driving school.
- Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice or a ride, they can call you at any time. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and that they will not be judged or punished should they need your help.
MADD also suggests:
- Talk about alcohol. Use our Power of Parents® handbook to talk with you teens about not drinking alcohol until they are 21 and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.
- Buckle up. Insist on seat belts at all times and in all seating positions. Low seat belt use is one of the primary reasons that teen driver and passenger fatality and injury rates remain high.
The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STAND UP act)
In the spring of 2011 the STAND UP act was introduced to the U.S. House and Senate. This legislation would establish minimum federal requirements for state Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws and encourage all states to adopt GDL laws that meet those minimum requirements within 3 years. GDL has consistently proven effective in reducing new driver crash risk. MADD supports the STAND UP act and hopes that all states will adopt Graduated Drivers Licensing laws to help keep our teens safe on the road.