Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 100 Deadliest Days on the Roadway for teens.
As spring turns to summer, we all begin to come together to celebrate milestone events. For teens, this includes prom, graduation, and numerous other celebrations and parties. Gatherings and celebrations are even more prevalent after our teens have had their high school years interrupted by the pandemic. This time of year, we have more teens on the road and, due to the pandemic, most of these teens have fewer hours of supervised driving experience before getting licensed.
In a study of vehicle collisions involving fatalities, the summer months are when teens are involved in the most fatal crashes. Between 2010-2019, more than 7,000 people died in crashes involving teen drivers nationwide. AAA says that taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds more than doubles your risk of being in a crash.
Failure to wear a seatbelt, distractions, drinking or using drugs, and driving are the biggest contributors to teen fatalities on our roadways.
As parents, take the time to have a discussion with your teen about these facts and the importance of being a safe driver for the sake of everyone on the roadway. If, as a parent, you feel uncomfortable allowing your teen to drive somewhere, then offer to drive him or her yourself. Discuss the effects of impaired driving and arrange for your teen to have you or another trusted adult they can contact if they need a ride home because they have consumed alcohol or drugs or if they do not have a sober driver If your teen is 18 or older, set them up with an Uber account on their phone and connect it to your credit card so it is as easy as possible to ensure your child gets home safely. The cost of a ride is much less than the price of a funeral.
Gina Buskirk is a Partner at Puget Law Group LLP, specializing in criminal defense and traffic crimes including DUI and Reckless Driving. With nearly two decades of experience as a prosecutor, she spent much of her career training officers in traffic enforcement and criminal investigation. She also taught legal updates to law enforcement officers and attorneys. As a pro tem judge, she regularly handles criminal and traffic calendars. Her experience in various roles in the criminal justice system gives her unique insight into how to best represent her clients in a way that gets positive results in challenging cases.