June has arrived. For many teens, school is letting out. Many new drivers will be hitting the roads, some for the first time. The increased freedom for young drivers brings with it a rise in deadly car accidents. The AAA has labeled the time between Memorial Day and the start of the next school year the "100 deadliest days." During this time, roughly 1,000 people will die in fatal car accidents involving teen drivers.
New drivers are at a greater risk of being involved in a serious traffic accident than others. Part of the problem is inexperience, but other issues also plague younger drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of hand-held cell phones by teen drivers has increased substantially in recent years. The Pew Research Center reports that teens send an average of 80 text messages per day. The rise of cell phones and the heavy use of text messaging as a means of communication is not something the parents of teen drivers had to deal with when they learned to drive.
Current teens rely on cell phones to a far greater degree than previous generations. While cell phone use is now relatively common among all age groups, it is nearly ubiquitous among teens. Parents, educators and safety officials may struggle to convey the importance of avoiding distraction when behind the wheel. The "100 deadliest days" moniker is another attempt to impress upon teens the dangers of unsafe driving.
Car crashes resulting in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death are all too common. Thousands will die this summer due to the negligent decisions of other drivers. Teens need to be aware of the responsibility that comes with driving an automobile. Summer vacation does not have to be a time of tragedy.
Source: USA Today, "AAA: 100 'deadliest days' of summer: Teens on the road after Memorial Day," by Bart Jansen, 1 June 2016