The stretch of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year is the most dangerous time for teen drivers across North Carolina and the nation. During this time, most teenagers are out of school and have more time on their hands, and many of them choose to spend it behind the wheel. However, many teen drivers are also engaging in dangerous behind-the-wheel behaviors, heightening driving risks, not only for themselves but for drivers and passengers across all age groups.
According to Fox 46, fatal and nonfatal crashes caused by teenagers increase so much during the summertime that many safety advocates now call the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day “summer’s 100 Deadliest Days.”
100 Deadliest Day crash statistics
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that there were more than 12,000 crashes involving teen drivers that took place statewide during 2020’s 100 Deadliest Days span. Those 12,000 crashes resulted in 30 teen fatalities. This is both a 17% uptick over the year prior and the highest number of teen driver-involved crashes seen during any 100 Deadliest Days period since 2007.
100 Deadliest Day crash contributors
A lack of experience is a frequent factor in crashes involving teen drivers. So, too, is driver inattention. North Carolina laws ban drivers under 18 from using cell phones while driving, but many do so anyway, and many of them cause crashes. Teenage passengers are also a frequent course of distraction for teen drivers, with teen passengers increasing crash risks for anyone involved in a crash with a teen motorist. Speed and alcohol also play a role in many teen-involved car wrecks in North Carolina.
Parents of teenage drivers may want to warn their children about the dangers associated with summertime driving and set appropriate restrictions in terms of when and with whom their teens may drive.