Personal Injury Lawyers • Portland and Waterville, ME

Preventing Teen Car Accidents and Staying Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days

A teenage girl with wavy brown hair is seated in the driver's seat of a car, focusing on her phone which is mounted on a holder attached to the dashboard.

With summer in full swing, teens across Maine are hoping for freedom and fun. However, this period, known as the "100 Deadliest Days," brings a sharp increase in car accidents and fatalities involving teen drivers. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the risk of crashes skyrockets due to increased driving time and risky behaviors.

From 2013 to 2022, 7,435 people died in teen driver-related summertime crashes nationwide. In 2022 alone, 790 people were killed in these crashes – a 10% increase over pre-pandemic 2019. The year 2021 saw 900 fatalities, a 25% increase from 2019.

What are the most common causes and risk factors in teen car accidents?

Research shows that teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest crash rate of any age group. One of the most prevalent risk factors in teen car accidents is distracted driving. Roughly 60% of teen crashes today are caused by distracted driving, and texting or talking on a cell phone causes 12% of teen driver crashes.

However, the use of cellphones isn't the only distraction for teen drivers. For example, having other teen passengers in the car resulted in 15% of crashes, according to AAA. Other AAA research showed that the fatality rate increases by 51% when teen drivers only have teen passengers in the car. However, with passengers ages 35 and older, the fatality rate decreases by 8%.

Other common risk factors for teen drivers include:

  • Reckless driving: Speeding and running red lights are also significant contributors to unsafe driving among teens.
  • Nighttime driving: 44% of motor vehicle crash deaths among teens ages 13–19 occurred between 9 pm and 6 am.
  • Weekend driving: 50% of fatal crashes in 2020 occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  • Failure to wear a seatbelt: Among teen drivers and passengers killed in car crashes in 2020, 56% were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Peer pressure: Teen drivers may engage in risky behaviors to impress friends.
  • Overconfidence: Some teen drivers have a false sense of invincibility and may underestimate potential risks on the road.

What role do parents and guardians play in preventing teen car accidents?

Parents and guardians play a key role in shaping teen driving behaviors and ensuring their safety on the road. This includes:

Setting clear rules and expectations

Setting clear rules and expectations is an important step for parents and guardians in promoting safe teen driving. This process begins with establishing and consistently enforcing household driving rules tailored to the teen's experience level and local laws. A parent/teen driving contract can be an effective tool to outline these expectations in writing, ensuring both parties understand and agree to the terms. This contract should include specific limits on nighttime driving and the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle.

Modeling safe driving behaviors

Parents and guardians must lead by example when it comes to safe driving behaviors. They should consistently demonstrate proper techniques and habits while behind the wheel. This includes avoiding distractions such as cellphone use, always wearing a seatbelt, and strictly adhering to traffic laws.

Open communication and education

Maintaining open communication about safety is important for fostering responsible teen driving habits. Parents should regularly discuss the risks and consequences of unsafe driving, while also encouraging their teens to voice any concerns or questions without fear of judgment.

Leveraging technology

Parents can leverage technology to enhance teen driving safety. Utilizing apps that monitor driving behavior and provide feedback can help both parents and teens identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. They should also encourage teen drivers to use the "Do Not Disturb" feature while driving to reduce distractions from incoming notifications and calls.

Our Maine attorneys fight for justice after teen car accidents

Even with the best precautions, car accidents can still happen during the 100 Deadliest Days to drivers of all ages. If you or a loved one was injured in a collision in Maine, it's important to get prompt legal help for the best possible outcome in your case.

An experienced Maine car accident lawyer at Jabar LaLiberty, LLC can investigate your crash, build your case, and fight to secure maximum compensation for you and your family.

Don't let the stress of a car accident exasperate an already difficult situation. Contact us online or call one of our Maine law offices to schedule a free consultation.

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