100 deadliest days for teen drivers: Parents, here’s how to help keep your teens safe

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is also known as the '100 Deadliest Days' for young drivers. Experts are warning of reckless driving, especially among teenagers.

The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for young drivers.

Each year, an average of 2,063 teenage drivers are involved in crashes and 642 of those occur during the 100 deadliest days.

More than 7,124 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020 -- that’s more than seven people a day each summer compared to the rest of the year, according to AAA.

The Florida Department of Transportation says Florida has more than 400,000 registered teenage drivers between 15 and 19 years old.

With school out and more people expected on the road this summer, experts warn drivers, especially young drivers, to be careful.

Driver Sheleta Hall is concerned about what she typically sees and has advice for young drivers.

“It is very bad,” Hall said. “I don’t trust the drivers. I am scared every time. I am looking at all of my mirrors, when I back up, when I park. I try to park away from people because of opening my door and hitting my car. You want to enjoy life and enjoy your car.”

AAA says some of the risky habits young drivers have include:

  • Driving with teen passengers. Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when they have teen passengers. Set limits and enforce them.
  • Driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous due to limited visibility, fatigue, and impaired drivers on the road. This is especially a risky time for teens. Limit the time your novice driver spends behind the wheel at night.
  • Not wearing a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. Make a rule: everyone buckles up for every trip.
  • Speeding. Speed is a leading factor in crashes for teens and adults. Teens need to follow posted speed limits and parents should set a good example and strong rules. Teens should also learn how to adjust their speed based on roadway factors like reduced traction and visibility and varying traffic volumes.
  • Distracted driving. Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, but cell phones come in second. Many teens admit to interacting with their phone and in-car infotainment systems while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.
  • Drowsy driving. Teens have a hard time getting enough sleep and often struggle with drowsiness. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and teens have the highest risk. Ensure everyone who is behind the wheel has gotten enough sleep.
  • Impaired driving. Driving impaired from alcohol and other drugs puts everyone at risk. Enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.

Some advice from AAA for parents during this period:

The single most important thing parents can do to keep their teens safe behind the wheel is to be actively involved in the learning to drive process:

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
  • Teach by example- Maintain appropriate space around your vehicle, adjust your speed to the conditions and minimize risky behavior when you drive.
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
  • Enroll your teen in both online and in-person driving courses.
  • Talk with your teens about anticipating other driver’s mistakes and how to adjust their driving to others.

AAA also has a How to Drive online program for teens and behind-the-wheel training. Click here to find out more about those programs.

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