It’s the time of year most high school seniors have been looking forward to since school began. Classes are winding down and senioritis is at epidemic levels as thoughts turn to prom night, graduation, celebrations and summertime fun. It’s an exciting time, yet all too often these parties and celebrations turn tragic especially when alcohol and drugs are present.
How serious is it? Statistics identify this as one of the deadliest times of year for teens, with seven of the top 10 deadliest driving days occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, nationwide, 48 teenagers die and another 5,202 are injured in car crashes on a typical prom weekend. For the past several years during prom weekend, approximately 300 teens have died in alcohol-related crashes.
WHY ARE TEENS INVOLVED IN SO MANY CRASHES?
Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel. Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Impaired Driving – 26%
of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes in 2015 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 g/dL or higher; 80 percent of those young drivers had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher.
Seat Belts – 54%
of teens killed in car crashes in 2015 were not restrained in a seatbelt. Teenagers are less likely to wear safety belts even when their parents do. The report found that 46 percent of the teenagers who were dropped off at school by their parents were not wearing safety belts.
Speeding – 25%
of drivers involved in fatal crashes, young males are the most likely to be speeding. In 2013 about 35 percent of both 15 to 20-year old and 21 to 24-year old male drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, compared to 21 percent of female drivers of the same age group.
of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA)
Yes, passengers can be a distraction
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report that showed that the risk of 16- or 17-year old drivers being killed in a crash increases with each additional teenage passenger in the vehicle. The risk increases 44 percent with one passenger; it doubles with two passengers and quadruples with three or more.
MAKE A PROMISE TO YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
This is definitely an exciting, fun filled time of your high school career, yet all too often parties and celebrations can turn tragic especially when alcohol and drugs are present. This is a call to action for students and others reminding us that safety is a shared responsibility that begins with smart choices.
Select your pledge category and pledge to do your part in making this a safe and memorable season of celebration for the Class of 2019