Marking the beginning of summer, Memorial Day this year is on May 29. The somber message behind this holiday of remembering those who have died in military service is often lost amid the barbeques and swimming pool advertisements. Another serious and overlooked fact about this day is that it starts a period known as the “100 Deadliest Days.” Never heard of it? If you are the parent of a teenage driver, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the concept — and then talk with your child about how to have a safer summer behind the wheel.
Well-known organization AAA coined the phrase to refer to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when vehicle crashes involving teens result in an average of more than 10 fatalities each day. Compared with other days of the year, those 100 days see a 16 percent increase in the average number of crashes involving drivers aged 16 to 19. Not having a teen driver in your household doesn’t mean you are out of the woods: almost two-thirds of the people injured or killed in these crashes are people other than the teen driver. Their behavior affects everyone on the road.
With school out of session, there are more teens on the road. More free time, navigating to new places down unfamiliar roads, later nights, and fewer rules mixed with inexperience, inattention, or alcohol leads to dangerous driving combinations. For example, AAA examined crash data from 2007 to 2015 and found that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes involved distracted drivers. A significant cause for distraction behind the wheel is using a cell phone for texting, talking, posting to social media, emailing, taking pictures, even playing games. In fact, crash risk has been estimated to be four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free. While mobile phones present major distractions, they aren’t the only problems. Due to factors such as loud conversations and horsing around, passengers increase the risk of a teen driver’s having a fatal crash by as much as 44 percent.
So, what can you do? Be a good role model by never using your phone while driving and always buckling up. Consider installing an app on your teen’s phone that fights against distracted driving, such as LifeSaver or AT&T DriveMode. Be there with your kids by driving with them and getting them used to having passengers. Make and enforce rules about nighttime driving. Explain to them that driving is a serious responsibility. Have them sign a pledge such as this one or an agreement such as this one. Remind that driving while intoxicated is dangerous and illegal. Let them know that they can call you for a nonjudgmental ride if they are impaired or their friends are.
Help prevent crashes and save lives by talking with young motorists about their driving behavior. If you have any questions about this topic, if you or someone you love has been injured in a traffic accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, the GA personal injury attorneys of the Mann Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. Call us at 478-742-3381 or fill out our online form. In addition to cases handled in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case, and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.