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What parents need to know about the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers

Posted at 7:11 AM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 07:11:37-04

DETROIT, Mich. — The 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers is now underway. It’s the time of year between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the number of teen drivers who die behind the wheel goes up.

According to AAA, each year an average of 2,081 teen drivers are involved in deadly crashes during the 100 deadliest days for teens.

Here in Michigan, on average there are at least 22 teen drivers involved in deadly crashes during this time. Those crashes also impacted others on the roads; 247 people were killed in teen driver-related crashes during the past ten summers.

“In the summertime, they’re wanting to go to the beach, they’re wanting to go up north, there are all these different places,” said metro Detroit mom Stacie Batur.

Batur’s 17-year-old son, Nolan, just got his driver's license, and her 14- year-old daughter Delaney just got her permit.

She says she’s always worried, but during the summer when there is no school or sports and the driving possibilities are endless, the anxiety increases.

“It’s terrifying, and then to let them go off on their own, it’s just your heart is just with them all the time and you worry,” said Batur.

Linda Finch works for Michigan's Highway Safety Planning Department as a teen traffic safety coordinator. She says the number one thing parents should do to make sure their teens are driving safely is to lead by example.

“Our kids are learning to drive from the moment we turn that car seat around so we want to make sure that we are giving them, showing them really good habits while they are learning,” said Fech.

Secondly, have a conversation. Talk to your teens about the importance of following the laws. No drinking and driving, no cell phones, and wear a seat belt.

Linda suggests parents create a written agreement between parents and teens.

“Just to stay on track and help with boundaries. Parents can access those agreements, and there are some pre-made agreements through checkpoints through the University of Michigan injury prevention center or through Ford Driving Skills for Life,” Fech added.

Finally, train your kids to drive in all types of weather.

“Practice driving in all conditions which includes nighttime driving, driving in the rain, driving in the snow and through construction zones. Both the snow and work zones are really important,” said Fech.

Michigan does have laws on the books for new drivers. Level One driver's licenses, what we commonly refer to as permits, can only drive in the car with a parent, guardian or designated driver over the age of 21.

For Level Two licenses, the first license when you turn 16, you cannot drive in the car with more than one passenger. There are exceptions to this rule, including when the extra passenger is a parent.

Teens with level two licenses are also not allowed to drive between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Again there are exceptions to the rules, like going to and from work and if there is a parent in the car.

Once they hit level three licenses, which is usually at the age of 17, teens are clear of these laws.

These laws might be helpful for parents, but Linda says even if it is something that is not the law it is helpful to still set those boundaries.