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  • Selina Barker

Memorial Day Marks the Beginning of the Deadliest Days of the Year

Updated: Jun 10

Every year, between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the rates of driving-related deaths for American teenagers ramps up to some of the highest all year.

Dubbed the “100 deadliest days of summer,” May through September see a startling increase in driving-related deaths for American teenagers. BacTrack reports the days that contribute heavily to the 100 deadliest driving days of summer for teens:

"Nine of the 10 deadliest days for youth on U.S. highways fall between May and August."

These days include the 4th of July, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ranks as “the deadliest day of the year, with 144 driving-related fatalities on average.”

IIHS also reports that “seven of the 25 deadliest days in the U.S.” for driving occur in August, making it the most dangerous month of the year to drive.

Deadliest Days of the Year

Other dangerous times for teens to drive include Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day. These, as well as Christmastime and New Year’s Eve, are consistently perilous largely due to drinking and driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “a higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during summer months than during the rest of the year combined.”

Driving impaired makes drivers unfocused, unresponsive, and unsafe. It’s important to stay sober behind the wheel, and especially vital that teens remember safe driving techniques during these summer months that typically see a huge increase in fatal crashes.

When Not to Drive

Inexperience is another factor that plays a big role in the high rates of driving-related fatalities among teens. Many young people excitedly start driving as soon as they are legally allowed – at 16. This is also the time when they get into the most accidents due to inexperience and recklessness.

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “as of May 5, over 200,000 Florida teens ages 15-19 are driving with a learner’s license.”

Teen drivers also commonly distracted from driving by their mobile device on which they may be texting or talking instead of watching the road. They are also likely to be distracted by the passengers in their car, like friends or family members with whom they may be involved in lively dialogue which diverts their attention.

Passengers should always keep in mind that the driver is busy and needs to be actively focusing on the task they are undertaking every time they get behind the wheel. It is best for everyone in the car to be calm, considerate, respectful, and not engage in any discussion or activity that is too distracting while in the car.

Teens especially should be aware of the dangers of being pressured into reckless driving. It is easy to get caught up in a game or challenge with friends and forget the vital rules of the road. Stunt driving, including speeding, has deadly consequences. There is never a good reason to drive recklessly.

It is never safe to drive while under the influence of drugs. Always plan another way to get home when you plan to or could be partaking in a substance that impairs cognitive functions. Designate a sober driver, call a ride share or taxi, ask a trusted friend or family member to pick you up, take public transit, or walk. Never drive after taking drugs including alcohol and marijuana.

The 100 deadly days of summer remind us to be careful and courteous whenever we’re behind the wheel.


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