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Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20, but most of us have come to think of Memorial Day weekend as the kick-off to BBQ cookouts, picnics, trips to the pool, superhero blockbusters at the movies, and general fun in the sun. It also means that your teen is either out of school or soon will be.
With more free time and longer days, your teen is probably planning on being behind the wheel more often. That’s a good thing—experience is what we’re looking for.
You may find that you’re ready to relax some rules for the summer. If your teen is showing progress in their driving, you should increase their driving responsibility. But be careful about loosening rules too much—especially when it comes to night driving and driving friends around.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day is another reminder of just how dangerous our roads can be. Every year, the National Safety Council releases a fatality estimate for the holiday weekend. This year, sadly, the numbers indicate that 409 people may lose their lives in a traffic incident over the long weekend. Many more are likely to be injured.
This is the highest estimate from the Council since 2012 and it represents a 12% increase over the past six Memorial Day weekends. That’s in line with another that should concern parents with teen drivers—and drivers in general: traffic deaths are up 6 percent over last year and 14 percent since 2014. That’s the biggest jump since 1964.
Summer should be about fun, not tragedy. The numbers are startling, but these deaths are preventable. Stay involved with your teen driver—you can give them the experience and skills they need to be safer drivers.
Enjoy the summer fun—and make sure your teen does, too. Just remember to make some time to check in and practice.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.