Why are the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer So Dangerous for Teen Drivers?

Teen Car Accident Waiting To Happen

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. It is also the start of the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time, the number of fatal car accidents spikes significantly, particularly those that involve teen drivers. In fact, according to an AAA study, the number of car accident fatalities involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 increases by approximately 16 percent per day compared with other months throughout the year. Although many of these accidents are caused by unsafe driving behavior such as distracted driving, there are other factors that can increase the risk of serious car accidents during the summer, including road construction and increased traffic. Many of these accidents can be prevented if teen drivers understand the common causes of car accidents and take the necessary steps to avoid them. If a motorist is injured in a car accident during the 100 Deadliest Days of summer, a skilled accident lawyer will assist the injured victim with the claims process and ensure that they receive the financial compensation they deserve. 

Why are Teen Drivers at Greater Risk for Car Accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. There are a number of factors that contribute to this sobering statistic, including the fact that teen drivers are inexperienced behind the wheel. In addition, a significant percentage of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers are caused by distracted driving. To make matters worse, according to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), teen drivers are less likely to wear their seat belts, which means that many of these tragic fatalities could have been prevented. 

What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers?

A lack of driving experience, combined with the fact that many teen drivers feel a sense of invincibility and that nothing bad will ever happen to them, can have deadly consequences when teen drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In addition to the lack of experience driving in a range of conditions, the following are some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents during the summer months:

  • Reckless driving: Speeding is the most common example of reckless driving. Approximately 35 percent of fatal accidents involving a teen driver were caused by speeding. Male teen drivers are particularly likely to exceed the speed limit when driving. When a car accident involves a motorist who was speeding, the extreme force of the impact can make the accident particularly serious, even deadly.
  • Distracted driving: Common examples of distracted driving include talking on the phone, texting, checking the GPS navigation system, and interacting with other people in the vehicle. Unfortunately, even a moment of distraction can have devastating consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), if a motorist takes his or her attention off the road for a mere five seconds while traveling at a speed of 55 mph, it is comparable to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Teen drivers are more likely to engage in this unsafe driving behavior than older, more experienced drivers. 
  • Drunk/impaired driving: In addition to being extremely dangerous, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This is particularly true for teen drivers who are not legally allowed to purchase or consume alcohol. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol can impair a driver’s coordination and ability to react to an unexpected traffic situation. In addition, when a driver is drunk, he or she may be more likely to exceed the speed limit, check a text message, or make a phone call. In addition, impaired motorists may be more likely to drive while drowsy. Any of these behaviors can cause a fatal car accident.

What are the Most Common Distractions Among Teen Drivers?

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the following are examples of the most common distractions that lead to car accidents involving teen drivers:

  • Approximately 15 percent of accidents are caused by talking or interacting with other passengers in the vehicle.
  • Twelve percent of accidents are caused by talking, texting, or operating a cell phone.
  • Eleven percent of crashes are caused by looking at or attending to something or someone in the vehicle.

What Other Factors Cause Car Accidents During the Summer?

Teen drivers are not the only motorists on the road during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. The increased traffic is one of the things that makes this such a dangerous period of time to drive. School is out for the summer, families take vacations, and the warm weather generally means that more people are out and about on any given day. The following are other common causes of serious car accidents during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer:

  • Extreme temperatures:  As the heat rises, so does the risk of tire blowouts and other mechanical issues. The heat causes the air inside the tires to expand, which can increase the risk of a blowout, particularly if the tire treads are worn. In addition, if the vehicle has not been maintained, the engine can overheat. Motorists are urged to make sure that their vehicle is maintained before the summer season, including having the tires, brakes, lights, belts, hoses, and all fluids checked and filled. If any repairs need to be made or parts such as tires or brakes need to be replaced, this should be done as soon as possible. Finally, the bright sun can cause extreme sun glare, which can cause significant visibility issues.
  • Increased road construction: Construction crews tend to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and longer days to complete a range of road construction projects. Unfortunately, construction zones can cause a range of driving hazards for motorists, particularly inexperienced teen drivers. The following are examples of common hazards:
    – Closed or changing traffic lanes
    – Detours and road closures
    – Temporary signs or signals
    – Bumper-to-bumper traffic
  • Increased number of motorcyclists and bicyclists: The warm weather is ideal for people who enjoy being outside. That means motorists must use extra caution when sharing the road with motorcyclists and bicyclists. Motorists are urged to take the following safety precautions:
    – Pay attention to other motorists, motorcycles, and bicycles in the vehicle’s blind spots.
    – Always maintain a safe following distance between the vehicle and the motorcycle or bicycle. Even a minor accident can cause serious, even fatal personal injury if a motorcyclist or bicyclist is hit by a car.
    – Use caution when making left turns. Over 40 percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by other motorists making failed left turns.  

What can Parents Do to Prevent Teen Car Accidents?

Parents have a responsibility to set a good example about what safe driving looks like. If the parent is constantly checking their phone while their teen is in the car, the teen will likely model that behavior when he or she gets behind the wheel. In fact, according to a survey by the National Safety Council (NSC), over 90 percent of parents use their cell phones in front of their teen, despite knowing that they are one of their teen driver’s first driving teachers. Parents are urged to put their phones away and keep their attention focused on the road at all times. In addition, it is highly recommended that parents have regular discussions about the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and speeding. Some parents even require their teen driver to sign a parent-teen driving agreement that both the parents and the child must read over and sign. The agreement puts in writing the expectations that the parents have of their child, the rules that they are responsible for following, and the consequences for breaking those rules.  

The following are examples of statements that may be included in the agreement:

  • I promise to always obey the rules of the road, including obeying the posted speed limit and all traffic lights and stop signs. In addition, I promise to always wear a seat belt and make other passengers in the vehicle wear theirs.
  • I promise to focus on the road ahead and avoid distractions. That means avoiding talking on the phone or texting while driving, or driving with too many passengers in the vehicle. 
  • I promise to never drink and drive or get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
  • I promise to be a responsible driver and make safety a priority at all times.

Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident during the summer months and the motorist who hit you was a teen driver, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will assist you with every step of the claims process, address all of your questions and concerns, and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. Protecting your legal rights is our top priority. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.