Safety experts at Children’s of Alabama are reminding parents of the dangers of the roadways. Memorial Day begins the “100 Deadliest Days”- a period that runs until Labor Day. It is the time when teenagers are more likely to get into a traffic crash. Safety experts with the Health Education and Safety Center at Children’s of Alabama say about 30 percent of teenagers die in car crashes during this period.
“Teenagers are out of school. They are on the roads more, and they are inexperienced,” said Marie Crew, the director of the Health Education and Safety Center at Children’s of Alabama.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2,800 teenagers ages 13-19 were killed in 2020 in car crashes. This means that about eight teenagers died in crashes every day, and hundreds more were hurt.
As teenagers take to the road for the summer, Crew reminds parents to learn what the graduated driver’s license law is for their state. You can find the law for the state of Alabama by clicking on this link. Crew also says this is also a good time for parents to discuss the consequences of breaking the rules while driving.
“A parent contract is a good thing for teenagers to have so they know what they can do or boundaries they can’t,” said Crew. “Parents, please make sure your teenagers are following the rules to make sure that we can keep them as safe as possible.”
Another way to keep teen drivers safe is to remind them to wear a seatbelt. Safety experts say teenagers are the least likely age group to wear one, leading to the number one reason why children and teenagers are killed in car crashes. Crew says parents can set an example by buckling up whenever they are in a vehicle.
Another factor parents need to consider is driving at night. Nighttime driving is riskier and even more dangerous for new drivers. According to the CDC, 44% of motor crash deaths among teenagers ages 13-19 occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in 2020, half of which happened on the weekend.
“A lot of time, we are talking about teenagers on unfamiliar rural roads,” said Crew. “The roads can be dark, and there may not be appropriate lighting, so they can’t see very well. There are just different obstacles that create more risks involved in driving at night.”
Crew says parents need to address some other driving-related issues with their teen drivers, including speeding, drinking and driving, and weather conditions.