The end of May traditionally kicks off one of the deadliest periods for teen drivers: The summer months.
In June, July, and August 2015, 991 people between 15 and 19 years old died in car crashes, according to National Safety Council spokeswoman Maureen Vogel.
The NSC cited several reasons for this: Summer driving tends to be more recreational. Teens may stay out later at night, when the risk of a crash is higher. Warmer and clearer weather may tempt teens to drive faster. Teens also may be carrying more friends as passengers.
"One teen passenger increases a teen driver’s fatal crash risk by 44 percent," said Vogel. "As many as three can increase the fatal crash risk up to 300 percent."
In addition, a study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that more than a quarter of teens said they’ve texted while driving, two out of three admit to using apps, and one-third drove while drowsy.
"Putting our teens behind the wheel is the most dangerous thing we do as parents, and summer is an especially deadly time," NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman said. "Parents have the opportunity and the obligation to establish ground rules and expected behaviors for safe driving."
The NSC encourages parents and teens to go over Washington State's teen driving laws and establish household driving guidelines as well as the consequences for breaking them. Families may want to consider a parent-teen driving agreement or contract.
Dr. Gene Beresin, senior advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD, reminded parents to also praise young people when they're driving correctly, make an extra effort to understand the challenges and peer pressures teens face, and to model good behavior. For instance, SADD and Liberty Mutual found that 87 percent of parents enforce texting and driving rules, but 50 percent knowingly text their teen while their teen is driving.
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