Road Fatalities Escalate During Summer Months
The summer months are almost upon us. While many people think of the summer as a time for family and barbecue cookouts, graduation parties and long, hot days soaking up the sun's rays, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has another way to describe the summer. AAA calls the period commencing on Memorial Day Weekend and ending on Labor Day weekend the deadliest 100 days for teens. From 2011 to 2016, 5,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving teenaged drivers during the 100 most dangerous days. AAA has studied the 100 deadliest days thoroughly and derived some interesting and sobering trends.
According to AAA's research, 60 percent of all teens involved in fatal accidents involve some distraction while they are driving. Not surprisingly, instances of teen cell phone use social media and texting while driving has increased as well. Teens are involved in more accidents during the summer months because they tend to be on the road more. Unfortunately, during the summer an average of 1,022 people are killed in accidents involving teens each year. Thus, the daily average is ten deaths nationwide attributable to teenagers driving during summer months. Crashes involving teens aged 16-19 increase 16 percent during the summer contrasted by any other time of the year.
AAA's study is not merely a compilation of anecdotal evidence from people involved in crashes. Rather, AAA, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Iowa, analyzed the data derived from onboard dash cams from a span of 5 years installed in the cars of teen drivers. Analysis of the videos determined that certain trends exist among teenage drivers. The trends show that teenage drivers are easily distracted, and they are unable to control their vehicles while distracted. Those trends are:
- 15 percent of the time immediately preceding a crash the driver was distracted by or attending to passengers instead of concentrating on the road,
- 12 percent of the crashes captured on video depicted the drivers talking on a cell phone, texting, or otherwise using a cell phone while operating their car, and
- 11 percent of the crashes occurred while the driver was looking at an object in the car other than the cell phone. Those objects could include the car stereo, windows, or some other item.
The study shows that teens were more apt to be looking down at their phones before a crash rather than talking on it. Those findings comport with other studies which demonstrate that 55 percent of teenagers send about 80 text messages per day, thus showing a preference for texting rather than talking. Texting increases the risk of being involved in a crash by 23 times than when not texting.
Distracted teenage drivers are not only a threat to themselves but they are also a threat to others in their car with them or on the road. To illustrate, two-thirds of all people injured or killed in crashes involving teens were someone other than the teen driver.
Parents of teenage drivers can help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries during the 100 deadliest days. Parents should not text while driving and set a good example for their children. Additionally, parents must discuss the dangers inherent in distracted driving. Lastly, parents and teens can enter into some agreement whereby the teen agrees to not use a cell phone while driving.
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