In just a few weeks schools will be letting out for the Summer. Traffic will be lighter during your morning commute but with vacation plans and new drivers on the road, the chances of accidents will increase. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are referred to as the ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer’ when the “average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15%.” According to the CDC, teen drivers between the ages of 16-19 are three times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be involved in a deadly crash. Inexperience combined with higher exposure creates a deadly combination for these newer drivers. Add into the mix vacationers hitting the road and the increase of bicyclists and pedestrians all sharing the roads, you get a well-studied recipe for disaster. If you’re a parent with a teen driver, sit down and have a conversation about being responsible behind the wheel. While we can’t always protect ourselves from other drivers, do your part in preventing an automobile accident and check out our tips below for staying safe this summer.
With the developments in technology distracted driving is on the rise. Our attachments to smartphones aren’t just a problem for the younger generation but for adults as well. Utilize advances in technology to enable “Do not Disturb While Driving” settings which limit notifications while driving or keep your phone out of reach. The law Governor Deal signed in to effect at the beginning of the month that imposes fines for those using hand-held devices while operating a motor vehicle will, hopefully, provide an added layer of restraint. A study by AAA found that teens are more distracted and more likely to conduct risky behaviors when they have passengers in the car with them.
In 2016, 48% of passengers who were killed in auto accidents weren’t wearing seatbelts. While 90% of Americans are wearing seatbelts when in a car, there are nearly 27.5 million who don’t buckle up. The NHTSA says that “airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them; in fact, the force of an airbag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up.” Teens have the lowest rates of seatbelt use, reported a CDC study. “In 2015, only 61% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.” While you can’t control how other people drive, you are directly responsible for taking the safety precautions available to you as a passenger.
Summer brings with it an increase in construction work on roadways. In construction zones, speed limits are often decreased which will lead to more congestion and an increased risk of accidents. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination and use extra caution. If the construction area closes off a sidewalk, you’ll need to be extra vigilant of pedestrians entering the roadway. Stay alert and slow down if you can’t avoid the area altogether.
In Georgia, drivers between 16 – 18 years old are restricted from driving between 12 am – 5 am, no exceptions. For all ages, fatal crashes are more likely to occur at night; but the risk is higher for teens. One factor in the increase of nighttime accidents is drinking and driving. When it comes to underage drunk driving, Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy. “Convicted drivers with a blood-alcohol content level of .08 grams or higher will face a 12-month license suspension on the first offense.” Avoid nighttime driving or opt to call a rideshare program. There are too many options in modern society to excuse drunk, impaired, or drowsy driving.
One in ten high school teens drink and drive; a 54% decrease since 1991. High school students “16 years and older…said they had driven a vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol.” Research shows that parental involvement has a significant effect on a lower rate of risky driving, traffic violations, and crashes. Open the lines of communication and be a good role model: never drink and drive.
Prepare your teens for the responsibility they’ll be taking when they get behind the wheel. Have an honest conversation about the potential dangers and the importance of what they can do to keep themselves safe. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the specialists available 24/7 at our firm. For a lawyer you can trust, contact Hammers Law Firm for a free case evaluation.