Summer Spells Trouble for Teen Drivers
One phenomenon that has been gaining traction in the media over the past few years is known colloquially as the “100 deadliest days of summer”. This time frame, extending from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is infamous for being the time of year when teen traffic fatalities are at their highest.
According to AAA, there is over a 17% increase in teen fatalities during these 100 days compared to the rest of the year. From 2010 to 2019, these days alone averaged 777 fatalities annually.
Reasons for the Spike
There are several reasons for why this increase exists, least notably the number of teenagers on the road overall.
Recent data suggests that there are three main driving behaviors that increase among teens during this time:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
Respectively, they average about a 28%, 17%, and 9% increase during the summer compared to the rest of the year. But why is this the case? Read on to learn more.
Speeding is a dangerous activity for a driver of any age, as it increases the chances of losing control of the vehicle and may inhibit reaction times should a hazard arise. This is especially true for teens. In Florida, driving at an unlawful speed is the most common citation given to teen drivers annually.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) speeding report, over 32% of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were speeding at the time of their fatal collision, which is the highest rate of any age group by sex. Female drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 had an 18% rate of speeding before a fatal collision, the highest percentage by sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Driving Under the Influence
Despite not being at the legal age to drink, nearly one in six teens dies from drinking and driving during the summer. While these rates have significantly decreased over the last 20 years, the CDC estimates that young drivers are 17 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash if their blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater. Along with this, 10% of high schoolers surveyed admitted to drinking and driving within the past 30 days.
Driving under the influence is one of the most easily preventable actions for a teen and is one of the many reasons why Florida has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking. Teen drivers with a BAC of 0.2% or greater may face 6 months to a year of license suspension, a $500-$1000 fine, and up to six months of jail time.
In 2020, Florida enacted a law that would put a ban on texting while driving, established only three years after the state was found to have the second-highest rate of distracted driving through an independent study. However, a 2018 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that nearly 38% of teens in Florida text and drive. This alone accounts for 12% of teen crashes.
When distractions increase during the summer months, it can have a significant impact on a teen’s ability to focus their hands, eyes, and mind on the road. Because of this, it is crucial to talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving (and practice good behaviors when they’re in the car with you).
Florida Car Accident Attorneys
Idrizi Law Group has been committed to serving Floridians in their fight for the right to compensation following an accident caused by a negligent driver. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of families get the results they deserve with the compassionate and personalized attention they need.