Every year on the Memorial Day weekend, the nation not only kicks off the first weekend of summer, but those of us in the highway safety industry have a kickoff of our own, albeit not a celebration.
Memorial Day signifies the start of the 100 deadliest days for teens on our nations highways. That's right! The time between the beginning of summer celebration and the end, Labor Day, more teens die on our highways than any other time of year. As experts in highway safety, we work to spread the word about impaired driving, distracted driving, graduated drivers licenses, seatbelt safety and more.
A lot of our messaging campaigns are geared toward teens. Why is that? Because teens are statistically more likely to be killed in a car accident during this time period than in the rest of the year. Around 700 people die each year during this time period in crashes involving teens. This upward trend represents an increase of a quarter of the overall number of crashes involving teens.
Why are teens more likely to be involved in crashes during this time? They have more time behind the wheel because of summer break. And how does that correspond to more crashes? Listed below are the most common causes of crashes involving teens:
1) Inexperience behind the wheel (SADD's signature campaign "Rock the Belt" addresses the issue of occupant safety and the need to always buckle up)
2) Speeding (All SADD programs address the need to make decisions that are not destructive, such as speeding when driving)
3) Drinking and driving (SADD, in partnership with UCSD School of Medicine, presents the Steer Clear, Decide to Drive Sober program to address this issue with teens)
4) Distracted driving (SADD's TextLess Live More campaign is tailored to addressing the growing issue of distracted driving)
The 100 Deadliest Days of 2021 are quickly coming to a close, but the work of SADD staff and student leaders is never done. On the road to zero fatalities, we will continue to host events and use our voices to reach as many teens drivers as possible with our programs, leadership opportunities, contests with scholarship prizes and more.
For more information on SADD programs, or to ask SADD to host a program for your school, community group or family, reach out at LRichard@sadd.org.
Thank you to Aceable.com for some of the information used for this article.