Teens and the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”
There are the “dog days of summer,” not to be confused with the “100 deadliest days of summer,” another summertime phrase that does not have a positive connotation.
It refers to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day each summer when fatal teen (between ages 15 and 18) car accidents increase in the United States. More than 7,000 people were the victims of teen-related crashes from 2010-2019 during this period across the country. And more of these kinds of crashes happened on Fridays over the rest of the days of the week.
Here is more vital information to understand the why and how behind teens behind the wheel in New Orleans and the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” time period.
Why Is There an Increase in Teen-Involved Accident Fatalities in the Summer?
According to Louisiana state troopers, there are several layers and factors responsible for contributing to the cause of a sharp increase of fatal teen-related car accidents in the summer, also known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.”
It takes less than a second, when a teen takes their eyes off the road, to be involved in a fatal crash. Summertime factors that accelerate these crashes include:
- There are more teens on the road on summer break, driving more frequently and recklessly.
- Peer pressure can lead to those teens driving impaired, texting, and driving aggressively.
- The nicer summer weather draws more motorcycles to the streets, which can lead to a higher risk for unsuspecting drivers and motorcyclists in their blind spots.
Why Is There a Higher Rate of Fatal Car Accidents for Teens?
There are several reasons why teens are involved in more fatal car crashes on Louisiana roads, including:
- Immaturity, which is in direct correlation to teens’ lack of skills and lack of experience behind the wheel.
- Their tendency to speed, which increases a teen’s chances of making mistakes.
- Not wearing their safety belts as often.
- They get easily distracted – especially with friends in the car.
What Are Safety Tips for Teen Drivers in the Summer or Anytime?
Parents and driving instructors should caution teens to adhere to these safe driving practices, which could drastically reduce the amount of fatal car crashes during the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” or any time of year.
Limit the number of passengers. Did you know teens are two-and-a-half times more likely to carry out risky acts when driving with teen friends in the car than when driving alone? In fact, two additional passengers increase the risk of a car accident by 158 percent.
Reduce or get rid of any distractions. In other words, no texting and driving! The risk is not worth it to scroll through TikTok, answer a text, or talk on the phone. According to a study by AAA, 94 percent of teen drivers realized the risks, but 35 percent admitted still doing it. This leads to 21 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents being distracted by their cell phones. It is better to pull over to a safe location if absolutely needed.
Obey the speed limit. Driving over the speed limit is the cause of more than 33 percent of teen car accident fatalities. Not only should all speed limit signs be followed, but teen drivers should also look ahead and stay alert for any traffic hazards or conditions that could cause an accident – especially if speeding and is missed.
Use a safety belt. This is one of the biggest ways to save teens’ lives – and all involved in a car accident – and reduce injuries. When teen drivers do not buckle up, one-third of crashes result in deaths or serious injuries. Parents can serve as great role models by using their safety belts when driving, too.
Limit driving at night. There are nighttime curfew restrictions for all teens (age 16 and 17) with a driver’s license for a reason. This is because of the increased dangers with reduced visibility, more chances of drowsiness, and the teen’s overall driving inexperience.
Do not drive impaired. This is for obvious reasons for anyone of any age who gets behind the wheel – especially for teens. Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s perception, coordination, reaction time, and overall ability to drive. Parents of teens should come up with a plan, if the teen has imbibed or is riding with someone who has, to get them a safe ride home.
What is the Learner’s Permit and Driver’s License Process in Louisiana?
Louisiana teens 14 and older can apply for a temporary instructional permit, which allows a beginning driver to drive a car with a driving instructor or while taking a driving test. When teens turn 15 (or 16) years old, they can apply for a Class E Learner’s Permit after completing an approved driver training program with 30 hours of classroom time and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. A written and vision test must also be passed. Following this, teens with a learner’s permit have to drive with parents or adults 21 and over, or siblings who are at least 18.
When teens turn 16, the Class E Intermediate License can be applied for after:
- A learner’s permit has been in their possession for at least 180 days.
- A driving test has been passed and the teen driver provided proof of at least 50 hours of supervised driving, which includes 15 hours of nighttime driving.
Intermediate drivers cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. until the age of 17, unless with a licensed parent or adult, and cannot have more than one non-family passenger under 21 to prevent teens from traveling with a group of friends.
A teen driver is eligible for a regular Class E Driver’s License to operate any vehicle under 10,000 pounds at age 17 if they have parental permission, passed all driver training requirements, and show proof of enrollment in school.
How Drivers Can Protect Themselves from Teen Drivers in the Summer
For Louisiana drivers involved in a teen-related car accident during the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” the best protection may be to hire an attorney to guide them through the complicated process of recouping from any personal injuries suffered from the crash.