Parents of teen drivers have anxiety as a constant companion whenever their teenagers grab the keys and head out the door. It's hard to let go and let teens drive when a single wrong move could remove them permanently from your life.
Soon, however, those parents may have additional cause for worry, as we are entering a particularly dangerous time for teenage drivers — the 100 deadliest days of summer. This enhanced risk period begins in May on Memorial Day weekend and runs all summer long until it culminates at the end of Labor Day weekend.
Why it's such a dangerous time
When you consider the additional unfettered hours teenagers have during the summer, it's no wonder why they are at greater risk during these months. Freed of the confines of school, teens flock to area rivers and lakes with their friends. Some even head down to the Gulf of Mexico to get in a little surf-fishing or sunbathing.
All those activities place teen drivers on the roads with far more frequency than they were during the school year. Even teens who have part-time jobs still have extra time to take part in typical teen activities. Working teenagers also often drive to and from work, sometimes at late hours when more intoxicated drivers are on the road.
The auto association AAA reported that in one four-year period during this decade, over 5,000 passengers and motorists were killed in collisions with teenagers who were driving during the 100 deadliest days. The Foundation for Traffic Safety — an offshoot of AAA — also compiled some discouraging statistics that indicated more than half of collisions involving teenage drivers also involved distracted driving behaviors.
According to AAA, in a recent five-year period, there was a 16% uptick in the average number of auto accidents with teen drivers over the deadliest days period when compared with other months of the year.
How parents can protect their teens
Parents should inform their teens about the 100 deadliest days of summer and the implications that has on the teens. While there is no need to fearmonger, they can't exercise extra caution unless they're aware of the need.
Parents also can forbid young teens from driving with passengers, as a single passenger enhances by 44% the potential of teenage drivers to get into a deadly wreck, the National Safety Council advises.
If your teen does get injured in an auto accident this summer, as parents of a minor, you will have to take swift action to preserve your teen's right to seek compensation for any damages or losses stemming from the collision.