Summer is deadliest time of year for teen drivers; Joshua’s Law to change July 1

CSRA Traffic

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Teen deaths from car accidents spike 21 percent during the summer when students are out of class and on the road. The National Road Safety Foundation launched the “100 Deadliest Days” campaign to bring awareness and encourage teens to be safe behind the wheel.

The campaign extends from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. On average, six teens die per day in car accidents, and but during those 100 days, the number increases.

“During the summer months it increases because now the teens are out of school, and now they’re going to the beach, they’re going to the playground,” director of operations for The National Road Safety Foundation, Michelle Anderson said. “They’re doing different activities with their friends and their peers.”

Anderson says distractions are the main cause of teen accidents. She says it’s a good idea to limit the number of passengers in a teen driver’s car. And most importantly, put the phone away.

“Driving a car is a task. You really have to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the task of driving,” Anderson said. “If you take your eyes off the road for three seconds at highway speed, you’ve traveled the length of a football field and that can be a lot of damage done.”

To cut down on distractions while on the road, she advises both teenagers and adults to buckle up as soon as you get in the car, adjust the air conditioning and mirrors before pulling off, and putting your phone away.

She also says parents have a big role to play in protecting teens.

“Be a role model,” Anderson said. “What you do behind the wheel is more than likely what your teen driver is going to do behind the wheel. So the same rules apply to you.”

In Georgia, Joshua’s Law requires 16-year-olds to participate in a driver’s education course, and supervised training on the road before getting a driver’s license. But as of July 1, the law will change, obliging all drivers under 18 to meet these requirements. This means more hands-on training before teens hit the road.

“Any new driver behind the wheel, you really need to have those required hours of practice before you engage with other vehicles on the road,” Anderson said.

For more tips and resources from The National Road Safety Foundation, click here.

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