What Are the 100 Deadly Days of Summer?

Parents might know their teens aren’t the safest drivers on the road, but they may not realize that certain periods of time – particularly in the summer – pose even more threats than usual to a teen driver’s safety. Even if your teenager does everything right, a negligent or reckless fellow motorist could cause a serious accident. Being aware of the “100 Deadly Days of Summer” can help you keep your child safe from auto accidents. Here’s what parents need to know.

Facts About the 100 Deadliest Days

Car accidents are the leading cause of teenage death in America. In 2015 (the most recent year data is available), 2,333 teenagers ages 16 to 19 died in auto accidents. Teenagers have the highest accident rates of all driver age groups. Teens also have the highest rate of involvement in accidents that kill others, such as pedestrians and passengers. In one year alone, teens ages 15 to 19 only represented 7% of the U.S. population, yet accounted for 11% of auto accident costs.

If you hear someone refer to the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, he or she is referring to the span of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day – 99 days, in a typical year. According to numerous sources, the odds of teenagers getting into car accidents spikes even more than usual on an annual basis during this period of the summer. The rate of fatal teen accidents during these months increases by about 26% compared to other months of the year. Each month during the 100 Deadly Days, an average of 260 teens die in car accidents. The more you know about the deadliest days, the greater your odds of preventing an accident.

What Makes These 100 Days So Deadly?

Entering the 100 Deadly Days of summer means an influx of negligent, distracted, inexperienced, and reckless young drivers on the roads. As teen drivers get behind the wheel – some driving without adult supervision for the very first time – the roads become more dangerous for everyone. The following reasons are often behind the troubling increase in teen accidents and deaths during the 100 days:

  • Distracted driving. At least 60% of teen-driver auto accidents involve distracted driving. Passengers are the number one cause of teen driver distraction (15%), followed by cell phone use (12%).
  • Drunk driving. Tennessee’s drunk driving laws make it illegal for a driver aged 16 to 20 to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. Just one drink can lead to a teen DUI.
  • Bad driving. Teen drivers are more prone to poor decision-making and slow reaction times while driving compared to adult drivers. These can result in all-around bad driving habits, such as speeding, drifting between lanes, not using a blinker, not wearing a seatbelt, fiddling with the radio, drowsy driving, etc.

Teens are more likely to make critical errors that cause car accidents. These errors can include lapses in judgment that lead them to give into peer pressure. Drunk driving, racing other vehicles, and performing other reckless acts can stem from teen drivers trying to show off for their passengers and friends. Keep this in mind when making summertime rules to keep your teen safe.

How to Keep Your Teen Safe

Explain to your teen that the period between Memorial and Labor Day is deadlier for teens than any other time of the year. Let your child know you’re enforcing rules not to punish him or her, but to keep him/her safe – from your child’s own driving mistakes and that of others. Don’t let your child drive with any passengers, or set a limit to how many passengers can ride at once.

Encourage your child to be open with you about drinking and driving, offering to give rides or buy Ubers/Lyfts instead of your teen driving drunk – if your child breaks the law and drinks underage. Spread awareness and educate others about the heightened dangers of the 100 Deadly Days of Summer.