What is the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?

July 21, 2020

As new drivers, teens carry the highest risk for being involved in car wrecks. Their youth and inexperience can lead to miscalculations and driver error while behind the wheel. Data from the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that new teen drivers who are 16 years old to 17 years old have triple the risk of being involved in a deadly crash compared to adult drivers. Once school lets out kids for the summer, that risk is even higher during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day typically sees the fatality rate for teens involved in car wrecks rise by 26 percent compared to other months of the year.

Can This Summer be Even More Deadly?

According to the AAA, more than 8,300 people across the United States died in motor vehicle accidents involving teens during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer in 2008 to 2018. This summer could prove to be even more deadly as states around the country remove stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many teens missed out on driving practice as schools closed down early and people were going out as little as possible because of the quarantine orders. With restrictions removed and many summer activities and jobs cancelled, teens will be eager to hit the road and hang out with friends.

Distracted Driving and Teenagers

Distracted driving causes 60 percent of all teen-related car crashes. Any activity that takes a driver’s attention off of the road is considered a distraction. Eating, drinking, putting on makeup, texting, and using the radio or navigation system while on the road are all examples of dangerous distracted driving.

For teens, the number one distraction is other teen passengers. For this reason, most states restrict the number of passengers that a new teen driver can have in the car when he or she first receives a driver’s license. Having even one teen passenger doubles the risk of a car wreck for a teen driver. For young male drivers, the presence of other teens can produce significant pressure to drive fast and aggressively.

After friends, cellphones are the next most dangerous distraction for teen drivers. Most teenagers cannot think of life without a cellphone. The combination of using a cellphone to text, livestream, or post on social media while driving can be fatal.

Some distractions, like looking at a navigation system, are more visual and cause the driver’s eyes to leave the road. Other distractions are manual, such as when the driver’s hands leave the wheel to eat or drink. A cognitive distraction means that the driver’s mind is not focused on the act of driving. Using a cellphone is a combination of all three types of distraction, which is why it is so deadly.

What Else Causes Teen-Related Accidents?

The AAA surveyed teen drivers and found that 72 percent of these teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 years old committed distracted driving in the past 30 days. The AAA survey found that these teens committed the following:

  • Speeding: Forty-seven percent of these teens disclosed that they had previously drove on a residential street at 10 mph above the posted speed limit. Forty percent admitted that they had previously drove on a highway at 15 mph above the posted speed limit.
  • Aggressive driving: Thirty-one percent of teens said that they had engaged in an act of aggressive driving.
  • Drowsy driving: Twenty-five percent of the teen participants admitted to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. If a teen driver feels fatigued, he or she should safely pull over.

Teen Car Wrecks Affect All Drivers

During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, a teenager is at high risk for being involved in a car wreck, which can also affect all other drivers. Teen driving impacts everyone else on the road, and car accidents can destroy property and severely injure or take the life of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

How Can I Stay Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?

How can parents keep teen drivers safe in summer? Review good driving behavior early in the year and often. Do not assume a teen remembers everything that he or she learned in driver education class at school. Reinforcement is key, and so is setting a good example for teenage drivers. This means stowing away a cellphone before driving and sticking to the speed limit so that a teenager sees that the rules are for everyone.

Many families set down rules for using the family vehicle when a teen starts driving. Parents should think about who should pay for gas and maintenance, curfews, who is allowed to be a passenger, and the consequences for breaking the rules.

Writing everything down should make the expectations clear to a teen driver. Talk to teenagers about the dangers of driving. A parent should inform a teen to never get into a vehicle with a driver who is impaired or distracted. Drugged, drunk, and distracted driving can lead to a fatal accident. With guidance and positive reinforcement, teen drivers and all drivers can stay safe on the road during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.

Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Protect Victims Injured in Teen-Related Car Crashes

If you are an injured teen driver or you were in a car accident with a teen driver, you may be eligible for compensation. One of our experienced Huntsville car accident lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. will investigate your case and fight to get you the maximum compensation available. Call us at 256-539-3110 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.