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News July 18, 2017  RSS feed

July and August deadliest months for teen drivers buckle up!

Although they tend to think of themselves as indestructible, teens have a higher fatality and injury rate in motor vehicle crashes than any other age group. This tendency may be due to their inexperience as drivers and their willingness to take risks behind the wheel such as speeding, driving after drinking, and not wearing their safety belts. According to AAA, July and August are typically two of the deadliest months for teenage drivers. Roughly 100 16- and 17-year-old drivers are killed in crashes on average in July or August, more than in any other month.

Studies have shown that graduated driver’s license laws can be an effective tool to ease teens into the responsibility of driving. But for young drivers, safety belt use is the single most effective way to decrease injuries and deaths in car crashes. Unfortunately, teens are less likely to wear their safety belts than any other age group. This fact is particularly true for male teens who are even less likely to be using safety belts than their female counterparts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 63 percent of fatally injured 16–20 year-old passenger vehicle occupants were unrestrained compared to 55 percent for adults 21 or older.

Safety belts save lives and dollars. According to NHTSA, in 2003 it is estimated that safety belts saved society an estimated $63 billion in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury-related costs. During 2005, vehicle drivers and passengers in Texas increased their use of safety belts to a total of 89.9 percent in passenger vehicles and 85.5 percent in pickup trucks. Because of this increase, NHTSA estimates that a possible 185 lives, 3,000 serious injuries, and $600 million will be saved.

Increasing safety belt use, especially among teens, can help prevent tragedies and break the cycle of July and August being the deadliest months of the year for young drivers and their passengers. Leon County Extension Agent, Kim Brown reminds teens to stay safe. Don’t speed or drive impaired, and always buckle up on every trip!

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