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Posted: Tuesday, 10 June 2014 7:46AM

100 deadliest days for teens

These are deadly days on the road for teens behind the wheel. In fact, summer is considered the 100 deadliest days of the year for the young drivers.

Traffic deaths for teens dramatically increase during the summer months.

School's out for summer, and that means a lot more time on the road to enjoy a break from the academic stresses they've endured the last nine months or so.

"They're just out having fun with their friends, and they forget to buckle up. They get distracted when they're in their vehicle and they're having a conversation or they're distracted by their cell phones," says Louisiana State Police Trooper Melissa Matey.  

"They are more prone to reckless behavior, such as drinking and driving, speeding, texting...and, of course, those distractions play a huge part with our young drivers."

Automobile crashes are the number one killer of America's teens, and statistics show that the danger is greatest in summer, with seven of the top 10 deadliest driving days occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and various state studies report a significant increase in traffic fatalities during the summer months.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year olds have approximately twice as many accidents as 18-19 year old drivers, and teen drivers have a fatality rate nearly three to four times greater than adult drivers.

"Between the ages of 16 and 19 years old, they are three times more likely to be killed in a fatal crash than any other age group," says Matey. "And, that's because they don't have the experience behind the wheel."

Matey says statistics show the value of that experience.   

"Teenagers are most likely to get involved in a crash during the first 6 months of licensure," she says. "And, when you throw in different distractions such as cell phones and passengers, that can be a deadly combination."

That's why, she says, there are certain restrictions on teenage drivers in Louisiana.

"Anybody that's age 17 or under cannot use cell phones at all while driving. That includes hand-held devices, any type of bluetooth device or a device that's built into the car. They are not allowed to use any of those."
Teens in Louisiana also have to abide by a passenger restriction the first year they hold a license.

"They cannot have more than one person in the vehicle under the age of 21 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. every single day of the week."

"Teens haven't been taught all the proper ways to drive on the road yet," Matey says. "That's why we rely heavily on the parents."

She urges parents to keep talking to their teens about the responsibilities of driving, noting, "Just because they have a license, does not mean they have experience, or are thinking like an adult in terms of safety."

And, she says parents should continue to have conversations with their teens about the responsibility of driving, wearing their seat belts, and not driving distracted.  


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