The Iowa State Patrol issued an urgent plea for motorists to be extra careful over the coming weeks as we are in the midst of the “100 Deadliest Days.” It’s the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal crashes involving teenagers escalate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks car crashes as the second-highest cause of teenage deaths, averaging nearly seven per day. That rate is significantly higher during the summer when school is out, and more young and inexperienced drivers are on the road.
Sobering statistics on teenage motorists
The CDC says drivers 16 to 19 years old are much more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than motorists 20 and older, three times more likely, according to their data. Distractions and lack of driving experience are significant factors. Others include:
- Drinking and driving
- Not wearing seat belts
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Driving with teen passengers
- Nighttime driving
The CDC says inexperience is the biggest factor, as the crash risk for teens is highest during the first 90 days after receiving their license. While fatal crashes happen more often at night for all age groups, the risk is even higher for teens.
Parental guidance is crucial
Most car accidents are avoidable and result from negligence. That’s why parents are vital in helping their teens develop safe driving habits. Here are some tips to help your young driver stay safe:
- Ride with them for up to 50 hours after they get their license
- Pay attention to their actions and suggest how they can improve
- Ride with them at various times of the day, in light and heavy traffic and several types of weather
- Limit their nighttime driving early on
- Discuss the rationale behind traffic safety laws
- Don’t allow or limit teen passengers in the vehicle for the first few months
- Make sure they always wear their seat belt
Most of all, always be a good role model for safe driving practices even before they reach the age they can legally drive on their own. Your kids learn from your actions, and by providing clear and helpful advice, you can help keep them and everyone else safe.