Summertime fun comes with risks

Many teen drivers view summer as the time for sun, fun, and cruising with friends.
   So when safety officials dub summer the “100 Deadliest Days,” those teens likely roll their eyeballs and think, “quit exaggerating.”
   Yet AAA recently shared data showing 26% more teens die in cars between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of year.
   It makes sense, since motorists of any age drive more in the summer. But the record also shows that teens have the highest crash rate of any age group.
   The risk of dying in a crash increases exponentially when teen drivers give rides to others their age: 44% higher with one teen passenger, twice as high with two, and four times as high with three.
   You can improve your odds if you focus on a few things, in particular:

  • Don’t text and drive, or talk on a cell phone while driving. It’s just not safe, aside from being illegal.
  • Don’t drink and drive, or ride with anyone who does. Same reasoning.
  • Speeding and/or distracted driving caused 54% of fatalities among Washington drivers age 18-20 from 2009-2011. Among those 16-17 years old, 52% of deaths involved speeding. Speed kills. So slow down.
  • If you’re the parent of a teen driver, remember to be a good role model. Drive safely. Few teens respect “Do as I say, not as I do.”

by  Jon Osterberg

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