School is ending and the heat of summer is starting to set in. That means vacations, barbecues, and lazy days on the lake. But for teen drivers, summer means something altogether different.  Memorial Day through Labor Day is considered the “100 Deadliest Days” for teenage drivers.

Teen drivers don’t have the best record when it comes to being on the road. Reckless and distracted driving is the number #1 killer of teens in America ages 15-20, but the number of teenage wrecks skyrockets in the summer. On average 10 teens die EACH DAY. That is about 1000 teen deaths each year from May-September, a 26% increase from other months of the year. 

Kids are out of school and on the road searching for freedom. They may feel like their responsibilities have been left behind in the classroom. Here are some key factors that lead to teen wrecks and how you can work to help prevent them:

Factor #1: Distraction 

Distracted driving is not just texting and driving. It can come in all forms: phone calls, social media, the radio, eating, applying make-up, or having someone in their passenger seat. Teen drivers are inexperienced when it comes to being behind the wheel, which makes them more susceptible to distraction.

As a Parent What Can You Do?
  • Educate your teen on US and state laws set for distracted driving, and teach them about becoming a defensive driver instead.
  • Set your own rules and guidelines for distracted driving complete with punishments that would restrict their driving privileges if they are caught driving distracted.
  • Don’t be afraid to scare them with real stories and statistics about distracted driving.
  • Lead by example. Your children are always watching and will pick up on your bad habits, so make sure you always have two hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Factor #2: Impaired Driving

Impaired driving can be all of the following: driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving at night or during times of low visibility, or driving while tired. Summer parties and later curfews open the window even more for impaired driving accidents during the summer.

As a Parent What Can You Do?
  • Educate your teen on US and state laws set for teenage drug and alcohol use and their consequences.
  • Set time restrictions for when they can and cannot be on the road. Driving while overly tired can be just as bad as driving drunk.
  • Let your teen know that you are available in a crisis. If your child is in a situation in which they question their ability to drive safely, let them know you can pick them up instead of trying to drive home on their own impaired.

Factor #3: Speeding

Speeding accounts for about 1/3rd of all fatal accidents in teens, and the problem continues to get larger each year. As teens get more driving experience and gain more confidence they are more inclined to speed, especially on residential roadways.

As a Parent What Can You Do?
  • Start the conversation about driving safely and wearing their seatbelt earlier, before your teen is old enough to get behind the wheel.
  • When your teen first starts driving spend a lot of time in the car with them, monitoring their speed and educating them on US and state laws.
  • Set a good example and never speed with or without them in the car.
  • If purchasing a vehicle for your teen driver avoid sports or high-performance cars and look at something a little more large and sturdy.

There is nothing scarier than handing over the keys for the first time and watching your teen drive away by themselves. But by taking the appropriate steps, you can rest a little easier knowing that you have prepared your child for the road and the responsibilities that come with getting behind the wheel.

A great resource for parents to learn more information about Teen Driving is Impact Teen Drivers. The nonprofit educates teens about the deadly consequences of distracted driving. They offer evidence-based, peer-to-peer programs and information to empower young drivers to make good choices behind the wheel.  They also hold a twice a year Create Real Impact contest, rewarding students ages 14-22 for their creative messages discouraging distracted driving.

California Casualty is committed to making our roadways safer and we are a major sponsor of Impact Teen Drivers. We urge you to protect your teens and learn more at 

You can also have your teen take the pledge against reckless and distracted driving, by clicking HERE.

Together we can help eliminate the “100 Deadliest Days”.

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California Casualty

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