Once school is out for the year, teens can relax, spend time with friends, and live it up. Unfortunately, the good times all too often come to a devastating end. The period starting on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day has become known as the 100 Deadliest Days because of the high number of teens killed in car crashes during that time each year. Here's a closer look at this disturbing trend, if it looks like it will change in 2021, and what teens can do to stay safe.
Understanding the Dangers of the 100 Deadliest Days
According to We Save Lives, an average of 260 teens are killed in car crashes each month during summer.
"That is about 26% higher than the other months of the year," notes John Peterson, Editor of Safe Drive Gear. In 2019, there were approximately 685 deaths from June through August, accounting for 28% of the year's fatalities from teenage motor vehicle crashes.
The culprit of these accidents is often distracted driving, with common distractions including passengers and texting or talking on a cell phone. And even worse, teens have the highest rates of crashes that cause the deaths of others like passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians.
What Will the 100 Deadliest Days Be Like in 2021?
Will 2021 have fewer teen driving fatalities during summer due to the changes that have occurred over the last year with the pandemic and shutdowns?
"If [teen fatalities are] to decrease in 2021 due to COVID-19 is yet to be seen, but I doubt that much will change, unfortunately," says Peterson.
Many teens are likely chomping at the bit to get out and spend time with friends after a long socially distanced year at home. With the weather warming up, vaccines available, and road trips trending, there likely will be the same, if not more, teen driving than in years past.
How Teens Can Stay Safe on the Road This Summer
With the 100 Deadliest Days quickly approaching, what can teens do to avoid becoming part of this statistic? Peterson recommends the following tips for parents:
Make sure teens feel comfortable calling you if they are in a bad driving situation. Let them know they won't be in trouble if they call you to pick them up.
Encourage teens to respect speed limits, focused driving, and road regulations by setting an example.
Encourage teens to sign up for The Courage to Intervene Promise, which asks them to promise to
stop friends from driving when drunk or under the influence of drugs.
As a teen driver, it's important that you understand the dangers and what often leads to these deadly crashes. When you're driving, take it seriously. Your life (and the life of others) depends on it.
It's recommended to put your phone away and on "driving mode" so notifications don't entice you to pick it up. If you have passengers in the car, let them be the DJ. If they are doing things to distract you, be open and upfront about it.
While you may feel confident behind the wheel, the stats don't lie. Teens have less experience, and it leads to more fatal crashes, so it's wise to give good habits the benefit of the doubt. A great way to sharpen your driving skills and keep your knowledge fresh before summer is to take a driver's education course.
With Aceable, you can do it from your phone or computer whenever it fits into your schedule. Review best practices to make sure your summer fun doesn't have any unwanted incidents!
*This article was updated on 6/29/2021