Do you have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend? Let’s also plan to avoid a personal injury crash!
According to AAA news, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the “100 Deadliest Days” for newbie teen drivers — with a 15% increase in deadly car crashes in this age group between this holiday and Labor Day weekend.
In fact, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center tracks the 6 leading major car crash circumstances in Missouri. Out of these 6 circumstances, 5 will most certainly be a large risk factor for all ages with the coming holiday weekend. Knowledge is power, right? So let’s start with the aforementioned new teen drivers.
Yes! Inexperienced teen or young drivers rank in the top 6 circumstances for deadly car crashes.
Memorial Day weekend also coincides with high school graduation celebrations and end of school parties. Pools open. Summer fun begins for the young and the restless!
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics, drivers under 21 caused 8,647 personal injury crashes in 2014. So, actually, driver inexperience ranked 2nd in the top 3 causes for personal injury crashes in Missouri for 2014. (Wait until the end of this article to find out number 1 — what a surprise to this researcher!)
While we’ve certainly addressed this topic on the blog before, the “100 Deadliest Days” epidemic helps nudge us to review driving safety tips with our teens. In fact, the AAA suggests that you talk to your teen frequently about safe driving and have them sign this agreement. Talk specifically about the three major personal injury crash factors that most affect them:
- Distracted driving. Driving with young, carefree friends in the car, singing, chatting, and having a great time don’t mix with safe and alert driving. When you’ve lived long enough, you understand the deadliness of a distracted moment on the road. Then add the temptation of a smart phone to this mix. What’s a parent to do? Try parental control apps on their cell phones, for starters. You will have to carefully discuss and decide for whom your teen may drive — when, and where.
- Failure to buckle up. This one’s squarely in your laps, parents and guardians. If you don’t enforce this early and often and set the example — don’t be surprised if your teen won’t buckle up. Sadly, the AAA reports that a whopping 60% of teens killed in a car accident were not wearing their seat belt!
- The Invincible Inner Speed demon. Some people are just born with this gene, it seems! Combined with teen hormones and incomplete brain development, speeding is a significant risk factor for teen car crashes. It’s a gender-neutral gene, too. However, young males are still considered a higher risk factor for car insurance companies then females. Unfortunately, many adults fail to tame their Inner Speed Demon in their youth. Again, your example as a parent or relative of a teen matters more than you may realize.
Speed is a very significant contributing risk factor in personal injury crash accidents — across all age groups. Those who speed don’t “drive to survive”.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding killed 10,111 people in 2016 nationwide. Missouri statistics for 2014 show that speed is the 3rd major circumstance, causing 6,911 personal injury car crashes in our state.
A holiday weekend means places to go and people to see. You may either have a long list of errands to run. Or you and your fellow drivers are just in a hurry to get to where you are going.
The “hurry up and get there” factor is a major reason most folks are tempted to speed.
Many drivers don’t slow down and consider that speeding is considered a form of aggressive driving. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Even though Missouri — unlike many states — doesn’t have aggressive driving laws on the books, you can still be charged with “careless and imprudent” driving.
Depending on the circumstances, “careless and imprudent driving” may land you in jail for 6 months. If you cause a car accident due to these charges, the jail time potential escalates to a year. You won’t be going anywhere in a hurry for a good while. Once again, you also face the potential of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor on your record.
Motorcycle-related personal injury crashes weighed in at 1,734 in Missouri in 2014.
According to a researched article on our blog, these statistics have risen slightly in recent years. For the summer season, expect more bikers out enjoying the roads! Motorcyclists caused only 1,734 personal injury crashes in 2014 in Missouri as compared to speeding or inexperienced drivers.
Why do motorcycle accidents still rank in the top 6 category? Probably because alcohol causes more than 50% of motorcycle-related accidents. Those are undeniably preventable motorcycle crashes!
Most surprisingly, only 2,424 personal injury crashes in Missouri during 2014 were alcohol related — significantly less than the top three crash circumstances.
Still, don’t let this statistic make you less proactive in warning your young drivers. Memorial Day weekend is party time! Temptation for young drivers to drink and drive multiply.
Even more significant, other drivers on the road will be driving under the influence. Count on it. Be alert for signs of a drunk driver and pull over to call the police if you spot an impaired driver. What to look for? Here are a few possible signs.
- Weaving quickly or dangerously in and out of traffic.
- Driving left of the center line
- Erratic speed and steering
- Braking often for no apparent reason
Quite surprisingly, according to the statistics for 2014 collected by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, drivers aged 55 and older caused 10,903 personal injury car crashes.
This age group leads the pack by over 2,000 personal injury crashes — shocking! It’s hard to imagine why the most experienced group of drivers on the road is also the most dangerous, at least in Missouri.
Logically, this could mean an abundance of older senior drivers per capita in Missouri. Or it could infer a large portion of folks over 55 are driving while taking their needed medications — driving impaired by pain medications!
Whatever the case, this statistic is cause for an entirely different article and some serious research. Meanwhile, maybe you should volunteer to drive your elderly relative to the family gathering this Memorial Day weekend.
If you or a loved one have been injured in car accident, you need an experienced, aggressive personal injury crash attorney. You also need someone with a thorough knowledge of state and local laws. For prompt, personal attention, call Nathan A. Steimel at 636-244-3737!
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