Now that the snow shovels have been put away and the lawn needs cutting, we are fast approaching the lazy days of Summer. However, the 100 days of Summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, are the deadliest days on our highways.
The 100 days of Summer are particularly dangerous for teenage drivers. During the 100 days, the number of teenage car crashes and fatalities will increase dramatically. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that in 2016, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers; an average of 10 people a day which is a 15% increase compared to the other months.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. A contributing factor for the dramatic increase in teen deaths in the Summer is the simple fact that teens are out of school and they are spending a lot more time on the roads and highways.
Throughout the year the number one cause of teen accidents and deaths is distracted driving. A staggering 60% of all teen accidents are caused by distracted driving. Not so long ago the number one cause of teen accidents was alcohol. Now, among all drivers, alcohol is a factor in 11% of all accidents and distracted driving is a factor in 23% of the accidents.
Distracted driving is often equated with texting or talking on cellphones while driving. On average it takes five seconds to read or send a text. A vehicle traveling 55mph can travel the length of a football field in five seconds. Texting forces the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. During the five seconds that the eyes are off the road pedestrians can step into the road or a bicyclist can pull out of a side street.
In studies conducted by AT&T their research showed that 97% of teenagers admit that they know that texting and driving is dangerous but 43% also admit they still text while driving. Seventy-five percent of teenagers have seen friends text and drive without telling their friends that they should stop. The studies also revealed that 77% of teens had been warned by their parents not to text and drive, but these teens also report that they have seen their parents text and drive.
SINCE TEXTING AND DRIVING NOW CAUSES MORE ACCIDENTS THAN DRUNK DRIVING, THIS EPIDEMIC MUST STOP!
Although it sounds like a no-brainer to stop texting and driving, most of us cannot resist the temptation to take a quick peak at the incoming text. No matter where we are, at the movies, a little league game, a birthday party or even a business meeting, once we hear the familiar sound of a text message, everyone within hearing distance will freeze up and make an instinctual grab for their phones.
Teens believe that texts should be responded to immediately. Even well educated and mature adults find it hard to resist the urge to check the new text. Psychologists explain that all of us are subject to the FOMO phenomenon. FOMO is the “fear of missing out.” However, we must all realize that the text message must wait. If we don’t wait, we are risking our lives, the lives of our passengers and the lives of the other motorists on the road.
Surprisingly, the top distraction for teens is “other passengers.” When a teen loads up the car with other teens, loud talk and horseplay between passengers is more likely to cause an accident than talking on the phone or texting. According to AAA research, when a teen driver has only teen passengers in the car, the fatality rate increases by 51%.
Other causes of teen accidents include the usual suspects of speed, alcohol, drugs and night driving (Most teen accidents occur from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.).
Many of these accidents and deaths could have been prevented if passengers told the driver to slow down, stop talking on the phone and stop texting!
We should all take the pledge coined by “We Save Lives Highway Safety Advocates”:
“Courage to Intervene Promise”
I will stop my friends and loved ones from driving drugged, drunk or distracted wherever possible.
I will not ride with anyone who is drugged, drunk or distracted.
I will encourage others to do the same.
I will have the Courage to Intervene.
What Should You Do if You are Injured in a Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, a Massachusetts car accident lawyer can help you understand your options. Our attorneys can help people injured in car accidents through every part of their case. We will dedicate our firm’s significant resources to getting injured clients top dollar for their cases. Contact the car accident attorneys at Mirick O’Connell if you have been injured. We will provide a free and confidential consultation about your case.