Here’s a sobering statistic for the unofficial start of summer, when we gear up for picnics, barbecues and our kids having more free time on their hands: Memorial Day kicks off what’s known as 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2012, nearly 1,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers, and more than 550 of those killed were teens, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data analyzed by the nonprofit National Safety Council.
Some of the reasons for the spike make sense. Teens are driving more during the summer and it might be more recreational than purposeful, the National Safety Council reports. For instance, instead of driving back and forth to school, they might be driving to the beach, lake or river, and heading down roads they haven’t driven before.
But one of the biggest reasons for the summer risk increase is that teens might be driving more frequently with more of their friends.
“We have always known that passengers were a big risk for teens, but what we’re really finding out now is passengers may be one of the most important risks for teens, even more so than things like texting,” said John Ulczycki, the National Safety Council’s vice president of strategic initiatives.
Think about it this way, Ulczycki said: Passengers are a distraction the entire time a teen is driving, whereas the distraction from texting is probably limited to the seconds or minutes they’re looking at screens instead of the road.
Passengers increase the risk of a teen driver having a fatal crash by at least 44%, according to the National Safety Council.
For more information see the article Parents, beware: 100 deadliest days for teens start this weekend