MILWAUKEE — Traffic fatalities increased 7% in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — meaning 38,680 people died nationwide from fatal car crashes.
The time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. This is a time period when 30% of teen traffic fatal crashes occur, according to AAA.
Steve Davis, a driving instructor with Easy Method driving school said his classes are starting to ramp up, as more teens are out of school. He said as teens are getting ready to head out on the roads, he is dedicated to making sure each driver is prepared.
"Don’t just look straight, look slightly left, slightly right, check your rear-view, look forward, glance down at the speedometer, scan the roadways, “ said Davis.
Davis teaches the teens defensive driving techniques and the rules of the roadways.
“Do not assume a person will stop at a stop sign or red light or behind you, so if something happens, you can see, can you stop or break and hit the horn,” said Davis.
In the past decade, more than 7,038 people have died during teen-related summertime crashes and here in Wisconsin, 44 people are killed in teen driver-related crashes each year. Nick Jarmuz with AAA Wisconsin said there are things parents should remember before their child gets behind the wheel.
“Make sure every time your teen heads out that you have what we call a flight plan, you know where they're going, who they're going with, what time they'll be back, and reiterate the checklist of things that they shouldn't be doing,” said Jarmuz.
Jarmuz said it’s important for teens to limit driving distractions including putting down the cell phone, turning down the radio, limiting passengers, driving during designated times, and following the graduated driver’s license program rules.
As more teens head out for this summer, Davis said his goal is to make sure teen drivers fully understand the importance of driving safely out on the roads.
“You just can’t think you’re going to go out there and drive from point A to point B. You might not make it to point B, so be aware of your surroundings and be defensive every time you drive so you can drive, stay alive, and survive,” said Davis.
For more information on Easy Method Driving school, click here.
Here are some tips for parents and teens provided by AAA:
Risky Habits for Teen Drivers
Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead.
Driving with passengers. Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when they have teen passengers. Set limits and enforce them.
Driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous due to limited visibility, fatigue, and impaired drivers on the road. This is especially a risky time for teens. Limit the time your novice driver spends behind the wheel at night.
Not wearing a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. Make a rule: everyone buckles up for every trip.
Speeding. Speed is a leading factor in crashes for teens and adults. Teens need to follow posted speed limits and parents should set a good example and strong rules.
Distracted driving. Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, but cell phones come in second. Many teens admit to interacting with their phone and in-car infotainment systems while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.
Drowsy driving. Teens have a hard time getting enough sleep and often struggle with drowsiness. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and teens have the highest risk. Ensure everyone who is behind the wheel has gotten enough sleep.
Impaired driving. Driving impaired from alcohol and other drugs puts everyone at risk. Enforce strict zero-tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.
AAA Advice for Parents:
- Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
- Teach by example, and minimize risky behavior when you drive.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
- Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
- Enroll your teen in both online and in-person driving courses.