Although weather tends to be much less of a factor, summer driving often finds an increase in tragic results on the roads, particularly with youthful or new drivers. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the ten-year span from 2010 to 2019 saw more than 7,000 fatalities in crashes that involved teen drivers during a period known as the 100 Deadliest Days – the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that deadly accidents by drivers aged 16 and 17 happen at three times the normal rate. This prime summer period when days are longer and teen drivers are less monitored during summer break turn fatal too often.
Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research, said, “There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel. “So, what can be done? We can encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits.”
Along with teen driver crashes, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase during summer months also. The CDC identifies that 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the US involved alcohol impairment.
Although it isn’t the duty of dealerships to train drivers or police their neighborhoods, there exists an opportunity to develop rapport in the community and encourage safer streets with initiatives in driving basics. That can take on different looks such as explaining safety tech in a walkaround, teen driver clinics, or neighborhood safe driving campaigns in these areas.
Distracted driving still prevalent
Although texting and driving is illegal in 48 states in some capacity, it continues to be a major contributor to serious car accidents. Distraction while driving doesn’t have to be just a handheld smartphone or device, though, but actions like conversations or eating and drinking while at the wheel. In almost 60% of accidents involving teens, some form of distraction is noted.
By showing car shoppers and new owners how to use hands-free tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as teaching customers how to connect their family members’ Bluetooth-enabled devices, dealers can do their part to lower this statistic.
Seat belt use
Sadly, around one in ten drivers still doesn’t buckle up their seat belt in the US. Of total car accident-related deaths in 2019, 47% were not wearing the life-saving device at all. For some, it’s simply a comfort thing.
To encourage seat belt use, dealers can include seat belt height adjustment as part of a pre-test drive process. Make buyers aware that seat belt extenders are available and consider stocking both extenders and height adjustment gadgets to keep drivers and passengers comfy and buckled in.
Operate an anti-impaired driving campaign
Take a stance against drunk driving and drug-impaired driving in your community. It’s an easy campaign to establish with the prevalence of digital readerboards and signage. In addition to visibly being against impaired driving, your dealership can contribute to worthy causes such as MADD.org. If your state requires an Ignition Interlock Device for drivers to regain their license after a DUI conviction, consider becoming an authorized installer for the devices, allowing car owners to have factory-trained technicians perform their install.
Again, it isn’t an obligation for a dealer to participate in driving safety initiatives. However, it can go a long way to developing goodwill in the community.
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