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Summer is what most teens live for – graduations, pool parties, road trips, summer jobs, and more. Sadly, with all this new-found freedom and time spent with friends, summer is known for something else as well.

The “100 Deadliest Days” began on Memorial Day and lasts up until Labor Day. This period of time is when teen deaths from auto accidents spike, according to AAA.

Summertime brings more free time, more late nights, and sometimes, fewer rules for teens. Mix in new and inexperienced drivers, speeding, alcohol, and distractions (texting, passengers, etc.), and you have a recipe for driving disaster.

Bad decisions made in a split second often end up costing people their lives. When it comes to safety, parents should not take the summer off. Studies have shown that parental engagement improves the odds for young drivers over the 100 deadliest days. In fact, statistics show that teens whose parents set guidelines are 50 percent less likely to be in a deadly car crash.

First, parents should be good role models behind the wheel. While you may not be able to accelerate your child’s accumulation of experience behind the wheel, you can provide good insight and education on safe driving.

Talk to your teen driver early and often about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel. Remind your teen about wearing a seat belt, following the speed limit and other road signs, and avoiding distractions – texting and talking on a cell phone, passengers, and loud music. Remind that driving while intoxicated is dangerous and illegal. Let them know that they can call you for a nonjudgmental ride if they or friends are impaired. Setting a curfew is also important. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night.

Teach your teen how to drive defensively. While we must all have some trust in other drivers in order to “share the roadway”, they should never assume that other drivers will automatically yield when they are supposed to. Remind your teen to always allow plenty of following distance. You may want to consider an app on your teen’s phone that fights against distracted driving, such as LifeSaver or AT&T DriveMode.

Lawsuit Financial encourages all parents to check out the wealth of information available on the DriveitHOME website and lead by example. The site features an interactive website with videos, information resources, and infographics to help parents understand the increased risk for teens driving during the summer months. There is also a parent forum, a parent/teen driving agreement, and a digital driving coach that offers helpful tips for ongoing practice.

Mark Bello has practiced law for 40 years. He is currently the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company, and the author of the legal thriller “Betrayal of Faith” available on major online book store sites.

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