100 Deadliest Days
Can you remember those carefree summer days as a teenager; school’s out and a part-time job helps fill the hot afternoons? Summer has to be the best time of year to be a teenager.
But parents, please pay attention, because these summer days are also known as the 100 deadliest days for teens driving on our roads.
Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teenagers, and teenagers crash cars at three times the rate of more experienced drivers. In 2012 between Memorial Day and Labor Day, nearly 1,000 people were killed in traffic collisions involving a teenage driver in our country.
The National Safety Council attributes these crashes to the following causes.
Summer driving tends to be more recreational than purposeful.
Teens frequently have friends with them while they’re driving, which increases the risk of a fatal accident by 44 percent.
Teenagers stay out later at night, increasing the risk of being involved in a collision.
With warm weather and clearer conditions, teens tend to speed more often.
80 percent of teens admit to texting while driving.
In fact, texting has become so ingrained with younger people, research shows they feel obligated to send and read text messages, even while driving. Some would even say that texting while driving is no longer a trend; it has become a national epidemic.
Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers prove otherwise.
Here are the facts about texting while driving:
Texting makes you 23 times more likely to be in a collision;
Reading a single text message is the same as driving with your eyes closed for five seconds; and
More than 100,000 people a year are injured or killed as a result of a collision involving texting.
Here in Mendocino County, we discourage texting while driving with hefty fines. If an officer catches you or your teenager using a cell phone while driving, the first offense costs $196 in traffic court fines. A second offense costs $367 in traffic court fines.
But to fully understand the cost of texting, consider the horrific collisions they cause. Please allow me to recommend a ten-minute video for you to watch with your teenage driver. I really believe this video will have a bigger impact on your teenager’s safety than all the statistics in the world.
Some say this video is too hard to watch. Other parents don’t watch it because their teens promise they don’t need to watch a video; they say they have everything under control. Even if they tell you that, please watch this video anyway!
The video was created by AT&T to share stories of people who live with the results of texting-related accidents. The video provides important lessons about texting and driving based on real life situations, and it has been watched millions of times. I found the video to be so powerful that I immediately wanted to share it with others. I am confident that if you watch it, you’ll feel the same way. You can find the video online by searching for AT&T The Last Text Documentary.
If a ten-minute video is too long, consider watching the latest video ad about distracted driving at www.distraction.gov. At this website, you can also find helpful information about the dangers of distracted driving.
Summertime driving for a teen can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Please take some time to talk with your teenager about the dangers of driving, especially driving while texting. Encourage them to put down their cell phones, and be sure to practice what you preach. Let’s all work together to make Ukiah a safe community.
No text is worth the risk. Whatever message you were going to send, it can wait!
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.