It’s no secret that parents get nervous when their teens finally start getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and with good reason. Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of teen deaths nationwide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted research that concluded every day, a total of six teens, ages 16–19, lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes.
With that in mind, parents and teens should know that the summer months encompass what is known as the “100 deadly days of summer” for teen drivers. Here at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we’ve seen our fair share of car crashes involving teens – some where the teens were the negligent driver, and others where the teen driver was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, taking the right safety precautions and adhering to all rules of the road can greatly reduce the odds of teen drivers being involved in traffic accidents year-round, but especially during the 100 deadly days.
What Are the 100 Deadly Days?
The “100 deadly days of summer” refers to the time span between Memorial Day and Labor Day when a vast majority of teens are out on summer break, and car accident statistics involving teenage drivers spike. Research shows that accident rates among teen divers increase by 26% during this time span in comparison to the rest of the year. Entering the summer months means a flood of negligent, distracted, inexperienced, and reckless young drivers on the roads. As teen drivers get behind the wheel, many of whom are driving without adult supervision for the first time, navigating public roads become a more precarious task for everyone.
Reasons that teens tend to be involved in higher rates of car accidents include:
- Driving Distracted: The highway safety advocacy group We Save Lives found that 60% of all accidents involving teen drivers are caused by distracted driving. While the use of electronic devices and eating and/or drinking are contributing factors in many distracted driving incidents, most distracted driving accidents involving teens are caused by the driver getting distracted by other passengers in the vehicle.
- Overall Inexperience: Teen drivers are more prone to making poor unsafe choices behind the wheel and slow reaction times while driving compared to more experienced adult drivers. Overall inexperience behind the wheel of a vehicle contributes to many poor and unsafe decisions being made by teens. This inexperience can directly result in all-around bad driving habits, such as speeding, drifting between lanes, not using a blinker, not wearing a seatbelt, or drowsy driving, among others.
- Driving Under the Influence: Unfortunately, underage drinking is not uncommon, and there are times when inebriated teens get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In the state of Massachusetts, any driver under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02% will face severe penalties, and in many instances get their license revoked.
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
For teens to drive in a safe manner year-round, there are certain steps that can be taken to try and minimize the possibility of unsafe or irresponsible behavior. Safety tips for teen drivers hitting the road include:
- Keep Potential Distractions Minimized: While eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, or playing loud music while driving may seem harmless, even a split second of distraction can result in an accident. Inexperienced teen drivers are more prone to becoming distracted while behind the wheel and losing control of their vehicle as a result. Teens should keep distractions to a minimum in order to reduce the chances of losing focus behind the wheel.
- Turn the Phone Off: Drivers under the age of 18 are restricted from using cell phones while operating a vehicle in Massachusetts. In order to combat the temptation of using the phone while driving or being distracted by incoming text notifications and call ring tones, it’s wise for teen drivers to turn their phones on silent while driving a car.
- Turn on Your Headlights: Having a vehicle’s headlights on (even when the sun is out) increases the visibility of a vehicle. This increased visibility can help other drivers see the vehicle that the teen is driving and can help prevent lack of visibility accidents from occurring.
- No Speeding: One of the major contributing factors to teen car accidents is speeding. Teens should always drive at a safe speed and should not succumb to the pressure of speeding if cars are passing them at an unsafe speed. Following speed limits is one of the best ways to avoid accidents and stay safe on the roads – and avoid costly speeding tickets.
- Avoid Teen Passengers: Teens driving other teen passengers increases the risk of accident dramatically. If your teen is going to be driving without adult supervision, it’s a good idea to ensure that they are driving solo in order to avoid potentially dangerous distractions.
There is no substitute for age and experience when it comes to driving safely. However, taking steps to reduce the chances of your teen getting in an accident can do a lot of good in preventing them from being a teen accident statistic.
Boston Car Accident Attorney
It is important that teen drivers practice good driving habits year-round to avoid costly accidents and injuries. If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, you’ll need legal representation to hold liable parties responsible appropriately. The Boston car accident lawyers at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., has a great track record of getting the results on behalf of its clients. For more information, or to schedule a free case consultation, please call our office at (617) 870-0907.