Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Summer Can Be a Deadly Time for Teen Drivers

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer. Soon after schools are out for summer and families are headed on vacations and day trips to the Jersey Shore.

But summer also marks a less happy time, when there is a sharp increase in motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers. That's why the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are also called the 100 Deadliest Days.

One factor may be the number of other young passengers in vehicles, which can create distractions for newer drivers. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that when a teen driver has other teens in the vehicle, the fatality rate for all people increased by 51 percent. By contrast, driving with older passengers decreases the fatality rate by 8 percent, the study found.

New Jersey's Graduated Drivers License Program limits drivers under the age of 21 to only one passenger (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian), which can help reduce distractions and the risk of fatal crashes. 

Parents can also play a role in making their teens safer drivers, but making sure they adhere to the rules of the Graduated Drivers License Program and talking to them about the risks of dangerous behaviors, like distracted driving and speeding. Parents can set an example for young drivers by being safe behind the wheel, this includes slowing down, moving over when passing vulnerable road users like cyclists or joggers, stopping for people crossing at crosswalks and intersections, and avoiding distractions – which includes cell phone use, programming a GPS or eating while driving.

Help make this a safer summer for everyone on the road.