The Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season known as the “100 Deadliest Days” of driving for teenagers. During this time period, teen driver and passenger deaths increase by 26%, on average. Figures from the National Safety Council show that between Memorial Day and Labor Day of 2012, nearly 1,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers, and more than 550 of them were teens themselves.
So what can you, as a parent, do to help your kids make it through these 100 deadly days?
- Since inexperience contributes greatly to crash risk, help your new driver get some supervised driving hours under their belt. Take them out in the sunshine and the rain, in the daytime and at night, and on both country roads and interstates. In other words, ride with them in a variety of situations so you can give helpful hints (screaming and gasping don’t count), even if they already have a driver’s license.
- Model good behavior by wearing your own seat belt. More than half of the teenagers killed in collisions were not wearing a seat belt.
- Remember that under Indiana’s graduated licensing law, teens are not allowed to carry passengers for the first 180 days unless there is another licensed driver at least 25 years old, a certified driving instructor or parent/guardian over the age of 21 in the front seat, with exceptions of the driver’s child, sibling or spouse.
- Limit their ability to drive at night unless you accompany them. The crash rate for teen drivers is three times higher after 9:00 p.m.
- Prohibit cell phone use while driving. This applies to talking as well as texting.
- If you know your teen is fatigued – from sports or lack of sleep – offer to drive him or her.
- Take good care of the vehicle your child drives. Don’t leave maintenance entirely in their hands, even though you want them to exhibit responsibility. Keep an eye on those tires, windshield wipers, brakes and headlights.
It may take some effort on your part to ensure that your teenager safely navigates through these 100 deadly days, but he or she will thank you . . . and so will your fellow Hoosiers.
Mike Stephenson, Indianapolis car crash lawyer, is available to answer your questions if you or your teenager is the victim of a negligent driver. Call 1-855-206-2555.