The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is widely known as the 100 deadliest days in America. It’s the time of year when accidents, injuries and their respective liabilities all spike.
Automobile accidents typically claims more than 1,000 lives every summer, an especially dangerous season for newer drivers, including both teens and young adults. During summer vacation, these drivers have more free time and engage in more recreational driving, stay out later and drive around with friends. With older teens, drinking and recreational drug use often increases as well.
Regardless of the specifics, you will likely be held liable for the actions of your children who drive your vehicles, including both minors and adult children. Here are four recurring — yet preventable — causes of deadly accidents according to safety organizations National Safety Council (NSC) and AAA.
Speeding is a factor in approximately 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, according to a recent AAA survey. The survey also found that driving instructors named speeding as one of the three most common mistakes teens make when learning to drive.
Not wearing seat belts
In 2015, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a seat belt, according to AAA. Seat belt use has been proven to significantly reduces risk of death or serious injury in an accident.
Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes, four times as many as official estimates based on police reports, according to AAA. The top distractions for teens include using a smartphone and other vehicle passengers. In fact, just one teen passenger increases crash risk by 44 percent, according to findings from the NSC. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are full of teens (and adults who know better) who are taping and photographing themselves while driving.
The AAA survey found that 36 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and 10 percent of all motor vehicle nighttime crash fatalities involved a teen driver. AAA also noted a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 deadliest days compared to the rest of the year.
Other concerning risks
Please remember that the same factors that contribute to auto accidents create many other kinds of exposure. More free time, more friends and less supervision can also lead to risks to their life and your assets for incidents involving:
- Social media misuses, including cyberbullying, hacking and sexting
- Issues of consent for sexually active teens
- Access to dangerous items in your home and control for liability purposes including alcohol, prescription drugs and firearms
- Injuries incurred at your home or other real estate assets like vacation homes
Next: How to mitigate your risk