AAA is warning parents about the dangers of summer driving, particularly for teenagers. Because of the dangers involved in summertime driving for young people, the summer holidays are dubbed “100 deadliest days” for teens who are driving. This year, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day spans about 98 days. But officials say this time of year is extremely dangerous for young drivers because of their propensity to drive while distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failure to buckle up.
Driving Under the Influence
Although the percentage of teens who drive under the influence has gone down by more than half in the past 25 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit in California and other states.
However, it is illegal for those under 21 to drive with any amount of alcohol in their systems. Statistics show that a vast majority of young people who die in alcohol-related crashes are killed on Friday and Saturday evenings. Even if the youths themselves are not drinking and driving, they are more likely to be killed because of adults who drive under the influence on weekend evenings. Parents might want to consider limiting the extent to which young people drive during late hours during the weekends in the summer.
According to We Save Lives, a nonprofit that aims to change dangerous driving behavior, distracted driving causes three out of five teen crashes today. Contrary to popular belief, the main cause of distracted driving among teenagers is not cell phones, but other passengers. Parents would be well advised to set guidelines when it comes to using a cell phone while driving. The best practice is to turn off cell phones while driving or use an app that disables your cell phone when you are driving. It is also advisable to prevent your teen from driving with other young passengers, which could be extremely distracting.
Top Safe Driving Tips for Teenagers
- Keep your cell phone off. Stay away from social media when you are driving even if you are using hands-free devices.
- Always drive at or below the speed limit. Maintain safe speeds depending on roadway, weather and traffic conditions.
- Always buckle up. Seatbelts save lives. Wear your seatbelt even if you are only driving a short distance.
- Never drive when you are sleepy or fatigued.
- Drive solo as much as possible. Adding passengers significantly increases the risk of a crash for teen drivers.