SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As we head into the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers, which fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year, it is important to know what you can do to help your teenager understand fatal crashes are a reality that can happen to them.
Teens were involved in 955,913 auto crashes, 4,000 of which were fatal, and suffered 359,268 serious injuries in the year 2018. And teens are two and a half times more likely to have reckless behavior when another teen is riding with them.
2020 statistics show male teens between 16 and 19 had three times the risk of becoming a fatality in a crash than female teens in the same age group.
The likelihood of a teen dying or being seriously injured increases three times when teens have more than one passenger. More crashes involving teens happen on Friday than on another day of the week.
Fifty-five percent of fatal accident victims from 2019-2021 were 20 years old or younger.
Buckling up matters a great deal, but it takes a while before teens mature enough to strongly develop the habit of wearing a seatbelt.
Talk to your teen about important rules to follow when driving, such as:
- Distracted driving is never a good idea. Texts and phone calls can always wait until later. Putting on makeup is best done at home. Driving requires the full attention of the person behind the wheel.
- Reducing the number of passengers a teen is allowed to have in their car is effective at minimizing a young driver’s distractions.
- Curfews are a great idea for teen drivers, as drowsiness, inexperience and reduced visibility can all lead to disaster. In 2020, 44% of motor vehicle crash deaths involving teens took place between 9 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. 50% of those deaths occurred during weekends.
- Speed limits matter. Speed is the contributing factor in 1/3 of fatal crashes involving teens.
- Talk to your teen about how drugs and alcohol can alter the skills they need to drive safely. Make sure your teenager understands they can always call and have you pick them up if they become impaired. If you’re not sure what to say, here is a guide to help you.
- Determine the consequences for a teen breaking distracted-driver rules you’ve made together.
Lastly, it’s important for adults to demonstrate the type of driving teens should mimic. (Especially in Louisiana where our state ranks eighth in the United States for the highest number of teen driving fatalities.)
And remember that parents have a lot of sway in their teens’ driving techniques.