It’s that time again: the bell has rung at Wisconsin public schools to signal students that summer vacation has arrived. After a long and difficult year, kids can look forward to 2+ months of freedom and warm weather.
For teenagers with a Wisconsin driver’s license, summer can mean lots of time behind the wheel with friends in the car. Unfortunately, the good times can turn bad in an instant when teens focus on their friends or phones and not on the road, traffic signs and other vehicles.
Another name for summer
The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day has been dubbed the 100 Deadliest Days because it is so often filled with motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 7,000 people were killed in teen-driver-related crashes from 2010 to 2019. That’s more than seven people per day over each of those 100 Deadliest Days.
The drivers most likely to be in a fatal crash are the youngest, newest, most inexperienced drivers: those who are 16 and 17 years old.
“There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel,” said AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson.
He said parents can encourage their teens to “double down on staying focused when driving,” and of course buckling seatbelts and obeying speed limits.
Distracted driving is an enormous factor in crashes at any age, but especially among teens. AAA says distractions are involved in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes.
The teens put themselves at risk of serious injuries and worse, and they put other drivers and passengers at risk as well.
Those who have been injured in a wreck caused by a distracted driver of any age have the right to pursue compensation for all damages.