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If there’s a teen driver in your family, now is the time to emphasize that they need to be extra careful. We’re now entering a period of the year that has been called the “one hundred deadliest days,” and vehicle accident and fatality data back that label up.
On average, in each of the past five years, more than 1,000 people have died in crashes involving teens during the peak summer driving period, beginning on Memorial Day. AAA and the Indiana State Police ask you to take the time to talk to young drivers, warning them to drive safely and stay especially alert during the summer vacation months.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a report detailing the seriousness of the one hundred deadliest days. For the youngest drivers, those aged sixteen to nineteen, the chance of being involved in a crash that results in a death is 16 percent more likely during this time period.
The critical factor in most crashes is distracted driving: Close to 60 percent of teen crashes in their study were the result of distractions, with talking to others in the car, texting or using a mobile device, and looking at something outside the vehicle ranking as the top distractions. Together, those three mistakes accounted for nearly two-thirds of distractions that led to crashes.
We are, sadly, already seeing the reality of the one hundred deadliest days here in Indiana. Only a few days into this dangerous period, a West Lafayette teen was killed and three others were injured when the teen driver lost control and rolled the car. Two weeks later, three other teens were seriously injured in a crash near Wilkinson. In June 2016, a Bloomington teen lost his life in a single-vehicle car crash, and a Brookville teen was the victim when another driver strayed over the center line.
It’s up to all of us to help reduce the risk during this especially dangerous period, and getting teen drivers to understand the importance of safe vehicle operation is a critical step. Minimizing distractions is possibly the most important thing to do. Older drivers, who are just as likely to have bad driving habits—more than one quarter of adult drivers admit to texting while driving—should lead by example and keep their mobile devices switched off while driving.
Other distractions, such as talking to passengers or fiddling with the radio, should also be resisted. Drivers should follow basic good practices, such as not driving while fatigued and reducing speed when road or weather conditions are less than ideal. Proper use of safety features should be encouraged, including seat belt use.
AAA has an entire website devoted to educating teens about the risks they face when they get behind the wheel, and they offer advice for parents to begin (or continue) the safe driving discussion with their children. They even offer materials, including a free two-hour webinar, to help parents learn to communicate more effectively with their young drivers.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car crash, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Automobile Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.