Canaan, CT – For many Americans, the Memorial Day weekend means parades, cookouts, and road trips galore, but young people should take caution before getting behind the wheel this summer. The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day has become known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers – in large part because of a rise in distracted and drunk driving accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that year-round, motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of death for American teens. The CDC additionally found that adolescents who drink alcohol increase their chances of being involved in a car crash, regardless of their blood alcohol concentration levels.
According to the nonprofit We Save Lives, teens are 26 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash during the summer months. The organization indicates that on average, car accidents claim the lives of 260 adolescents during each month of the summer. Driving during this period can be perilous for teens because of their relative lack of experience behind the wheel. Similarly, many teens make risky decisions that hinder their alertness while driving, including texting, listening to loud music, checking social media, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Impaired driving among teens creates additional hazards for everyone on the roads, particularly during the summertime. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that there were over 1,050 motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers in 2016 between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This represents a 14 percent rise in car crash deaths compared to the rest of the year, presenting a major public safety issue.
“As the most important role models in their children’s lives, parents need to frequently communicate the dangers of impaired driving,” says Amy Sedgwick, Director of Clinical Operations at Mountainside. “Parents should be sure to demonstrate positive behaviors behind the wheel by driving sober and eliminating other distractions. They can also encourage teens to participate in fun activities closer to home, which allows young people to celebrate the summer holidays without compromising safety.”