Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have died while serving in the US military. Being on the last monday of May always makes it land smack dab next to when school end for the summer. This may not seem like a big deal, but it has unintentionally become the beginning of the “100 Deadliest Days for Teens,” signaling teen drinking and driving to kick into full throttle all over the nation.
From an analysis by AAA, over 7300 teens died in car crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day during the 5 year period they did the analysis on (2005-2009). Memorial Day has become a cue for students to celebrate the beginning of summer with teen drinking and driving.
Teen drinking and driving deaths spike during summer
Nearly everyone loves summer. Parents love it for the weather and vacations. Kids love it for friends and the absence of school. But for adolescents, they suddenly have a large amount of time on their hands; a lot of that time can be used to get into trouble. Researchers think this is why the amount of car crashes with a young person involved increases during the summer. As many as 1 in 5 teen drivers in fatal car crashes had alcohol in their system, directly linking it to teen drinking.
For larger image of graphic, click here.
The spike of teen drinking and driving could be the result of many things. School is out, so essentially everyone has a high level of excitement, making Memorial Day weekend the best time to celebrate with teen drinking.
There’s also less supervision. Parents can’t just stop working because their kids get out of school, which means an adolescent is probably hanging around at home or causing mayhem with their friends somewhere else. This allows more leeway for teen drinking. Maybe your son goes to his friend’s house, but his friend’s parents are also gone. They can go anywhere, do anything–including teen drinking.
Passengers only make things worse
An adult can easily imagine 5 teens packed into a car to go somewhere. There’s loud music; they’re all trying to talk over the loud music, making it even louder. This is a perfect recipe for a car crash.
According to the National Safety Council, passengers being in a car with a teen driver increases that teen’s risk of getting into a fatal car crash by 44 percent. That almost doubles the probability. Yes, texting and driving is bad, but passengers can be even worse.
Trails Carolina can help
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling boys and girls, ages 11-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, substance abuse, and other emotional or behavioral challenges.