Another summer is upon us and now that so many are vaccinated, many of us are making plans for vacations and summer fun. We Save Lives would like to remind you that we are entering the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer”, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to the CDC, teen drivers between the ages of 16-19 are three times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be involved in a deadly crash. Everyone is COVID tired and looking forward to a better summer. You may be thinking that now is the time to relax and plan for summer fun but IT IS NOT the time to relax while driving, especially for your teens. Just look at some of the facts:
What does this mean for us as we watch our young people load up the car and drive off to their destination? It means we must remain vigilant and ensure that we have provided our teens with every safety tip known to man, woman and then some. Sometimes, it takes “a little extra courage” to remind our teen that too many passengers is dangerous, the cell phone should be turned off while driving, that other distractions can be just as deadly, and that impaired driving is not only dangerous; it is a crime.
Getting arrested for driving drugged or drinking can ruin the potential for a college education, a good job, and increase your insurance, not to mention the fine, lawyer’s fees, and more. There are some practical things to consider that we often forget in our hurry to see young people have fun.
Parents: It also means that we should not be serving alcohol or other drugs at parties, and we, too must eliminate distractions behind the wheel and always drive sober. According to the National Safety Council a recent survey reported that 91 percent of parents who use their cell phones do it in front of their teens knowing that they are “one of their teens’ primary driving teachers.”
Give them permission and encouragement to call you if they are in a potentially bad driving situation. Let them know you will pick them up without recriminations.
Empower them to show courage and decline a ride from a friend who has been drinking or taking drugs, and that driving in a car with a driver who can’t take their finger off the cell phone is not only hazardous to their friend’s health but their own. Saying “no thanks” may make the difference between life and death. Encourage them to sign the #Courageto Intervene promise.
You should also ask them to add #BUTNOTWHILEDRIVING to their mobile device. This lets their friends know they put safety before using their cell phones while driving.
Also, we can’t forget about speed limits, wearing a seat belt, basic highway safety laws and tips on what to do if a tire goes flat, etc. Unfortunately, our young drivers are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations or not recognize potentially hazardous situations than we older drivers. Life is too precious to waste it on a cell phone conversation or a drink before driving.
One other lifesaving tip, if your teen plans to go boating this summer, please make sure they use life jackets. They are as important as seatbelts in keeping them safe.
These tips can help your family have a safer summer and stay alive.
Because we care . . . . .
President of WeSaveLives.org and founder of MADD
Resources: We Save Lives, Triple AAA, National Safety Council and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, (FAARS)