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Summer Spells Danger For Teen Drivers

The long, lazy days of summer are some of the happiest and most fun-filled times for America’s teenagers.  Unfortunately, traffic statistics show that they’re also the deadliest. The California Insurance Commission looked at data compiled by the Traffic Safety Commission and the results spelled alarming news for teens and their parents:  most auto fatalities involving teenagers occur during the 100 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  

A review conducted by leading insurance companies and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration backs up this finding.  According to their study, seven of the ten deadliest teen driving days take place during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  The deadliest dates are June 10th, July 4th, July 9th, August 8th, and August 14th. Officials warn parents to be especially vigilant in supervising teen drivers during this time of increased danger.

While parents can’t always ensure that teenage drivers will avoid an accident, they can take steps to improve their road safety.  Here are a few recommendations from safety experts to minimize teen driving risk:

Commit to spending 50 hours accompanying your teen driver on the road between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  More supervised driving time spent learning good driving habits means greater safety when they hit the road alone.

Before you hand over the car keys, always discuss their destination, route, who’s accompanying them in the car and safety precautions they should take while on the road.

Create a written agreement with your teenager that establishes agreed upon driving rules such as passenger limits, seat belts, phone use, texting, curfews and distance limits. 

Talk to your teen about the dangers of driver distractions like talking on the phone, texting, talking to passengers, putting on makeup, eating, loud music and channel surfing.  

Many things that seem basic to adults who’ve spent years behind the wheel don’t occur to younger drivers.  Spend time talking to them about driving tips like checking blind spots before changing lanes, adjusting mirrors properly and slowing down on wet roads.

Limit night driving.  Most fatal teen accidents occur between the hours of 9p.m. and 6a.m.

Limit the number of passengers in the car when your teenager is driving.  Studies show that crash rates increase with the number of teen passengers.

Whether in the dangerous summer months or at other times of the year, these precautions will increase the safety of your teenager when they get behind the wheel.