Like most parents of teenagers everywhere, you are probably at least somewhat nervous at the thought of your teen behind the wheel. No matter how prepared your son or daughter feels to drive the streets of Oklahoma City, teenage drivers can only control how careful they are personally. Your teenager has no influence when it comes to another driver's negligence. As the number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road increases, so too do the odds of your teen getting into a car accident that could prove devastating or even fatal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites data showing that an average of 36 fatalities occur every day as a result of alcohol-related car crashes. More upsetting still is the dramatic increase in these numbers at certain times. Though summer tends to have the safest driving conditions of the year when it comes to visibility and weather, other factors can end up negating these benefits, making the summer season one of the most dangerous times for teens to be on the road.
The deadliest days for driving
The time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been referred to as "The 100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers. Nine out of the 10 most fatal days for teens on U.S. highways fall between May and August. According to the NHTSA, nearly twice the number of automotive deaths occur during the summer months than during the rest of the year combined. This is due to a number of factors, including:
- A higher volume of holiday travelers
- A significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers
- A higher volume of inexperienced drivers on the road due to summer vacation
- The younger ages at which many teens are drinking these days
In fact, when it comes to alcohol, research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Transportation cite the following statistics for 2010:
- A total of 3,115 youths between the ages of 13 and 19 died in motor vehicle accidents.
- Of those fatalities, two-thirds were male.
- Approximately 5.8 percent of teens aged 16 and 17 admitted to having driven under the influence of alcohol.
- Approximately 15.1 percent of teens aged 18 to 20 admitted to having driven under the influence of alcohol.
Even setting aside the issue of drinking and driving - be it on the part of your teenager or the other driver - there remains the fact that teen drivers are simply more at risk from a combination of too much free time and too little driving experience. Teenagers are much more likely to indulge in distracted driving, which includes anything from texting to applying makeup or even just animatedly talking with friends while operating a motor vehicle. This translates into a higher likelihood of a serious or even fatal car crash.
What you can do
While it may be easy for you to determine the most dangerous days to drive, it might be more difficult to convince your teenager of the same thing. Many teens feel invincible and have a hard time imagining anything bad happening to them. Even scarier, though, is the fact that while you can teach your teen all about abstaining from alcohol and the dangers of drunk driving, you have no control over the actions of others on the road who choose to drink alcohol before attempting to operate a vehicle.
If a drunk driver injured your teenage son or daughter, you are probably feeling grateful your child survived. Still, you may face expensive medical bills during your child's recovery. While such costs are a small price to pay for your child's well-being, financial stress is not something you should have to worry about at such a time. An Oklahoma City lawyer will be able to offer counsel and guidance on issues such as dealing with insurance companies and seeking monetary compensation for pain and suffering.