100 deadliest days for teen drivers

Teens across Michigan are celebrating the end of the school year, high school graduations and the carefree summer months. But the Michigan Teen Safe Driving Coalition warns parents not to stop monitoring their teens’ driving habits. Memorial Day marks the start of a period commonly known as the 100 deadliest days on the roads for teens. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2012, 33 people were killed in Michigan in crashes involving teen drivers, according to National Safety Council estimates based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 1,000 people nationwide were killed in teen-related crashes during the same period. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.

“When it comes to safety, parents shouldn’t take the summer off,” said Bonnie Raffaele, leader of the Michigan Teen Safe Driving Coalition, an initiative of the National Safety Council and The Allstate Foundation. “Too many of these preventable crashes happen during months that should be fun and carefree. Making sure teens are still driving safely avoiding distractions such as passengers and cell phones, and coming home earlier instead of staying out late will help ensure this time of the year is all it should be.”

Research shows parents are the No. 1 influence on their teens’ driving habits. Parents can help reduce their teens’ crash risk by understanding how to be effective driving coaches. Here are a few tips for parents:

– Drive at least 30 minutes each week with a newly licensed teen

– Practice specific skills together and provide teens with feedback in the following critical areas:

– Scanning the road ahead to recognize and respond to hazards

– Controlling speed, stopping, turning and following distance

– Managing the highest risks, such as night driving and with young passengers

– Sign up to receive weekly practice tips and suggestions via e-mail, and discuss and sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement available in English and Spanish.

Parents are urged to review Michigan’s state teen driving laws, which outline laws that are based on the significant risks of crashes for teens. However, state laws are minimum guidelines and do not represent the best practices for keeping teens safe. Establishing household driving guidelines – and the consequences for breaking them – with a parent-teen driving agreement is best.