May is a busy and emotional month for many. Schools are conducting final testing of the year and wrapping up lessons. High school spring athletics are ending their seasons with statewide tournaments and seniors everywhere are graduating from the old and moving on to the new.
May brings out a sense of renewed energy and liveliness as the day warm and plants blossom.
Combine these elements with youthful zeal and the end result is not always a positive one.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, May is one of the higher months nationwide for teenage crash deaths and the rate increases over the summer months.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Ronnie Shive of Cleveland recently said May is always bad month for his department because of teenage accidents and that last year he had five teenage deaths in four accidents.
According to the Insurance Institute, in the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17.
The U.S. Department of Transportations’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows:
* A total of 2,734 teenagers, ages 13-19, died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. About 2 of every 3 teenagers killed in crashes in 2017 were males.
* In 2017, teenagers accounted for 7 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths and comprised 9 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths among all ages.
* In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among 13-19 year-old males and females in the United States.
* Among passenger vehicle drivers, ages 16-19, involved in fatal crashes in 2017, 43 percent were involved in single-vehicle crashes. This was higher than for drivers, ages 25 and older (36 percent).
* Fifty-one percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2017 occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
* Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight (17 percent), followed closely by the time between 6 and 9 p.m. (16 percent) and between 3 and 6 p.m. (16 percent).
Nights and weekends are usually full of activities for most people so it’s not surprising that there is a higher rate of teen crash deaths during this time.
However there are some things parents can do to prevent time with friends from becoming time in the hospital, in jail, or worse.
First, know where your children are going and with whom they are going. They may think you’re invading their privacy but you’re the parent, and it’s your job to know these things.
Second, remind them of the house rules — curfew; check in times; where they can go; who they can go with; etc. And of course it never hurts to remind them of the basics — don’t drink and drive; wear a seatbelt; and don’t talk or text on the phone.
Third, tell your teens you love them. That simple phrase can work miracles.
We wish all graduates, high school and college, congratulations, good luck and a save summer.