Attorney Brandon Hewitt discusses with WZZM and provides safety tips for teen drivers
Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt talked with WZZM 13 of Grand Rapids about how the stretch of summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day has become the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer for teen drivers.
“The three biggest factors we see for teen drivers [are] speeding, amazingly, not buckling up . . . you would think that issue would be resolved by now . . . and, also, distracted driving,” Attorney Brandon Hewitt told WZZM. “Thirty percent of the crashes involving fatalities in Michigan are during these months.”
According to AAA, which coined the phrase “100 Deadliest Days,” “nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer” over the last 5 years.
Focusing on the danger presented by speeding, Brandon urged teen drivers to be particularly careful when driving in Northern Michigan due to the increases in highway speed limits from 70 mph to 75 mph in recent years:
“It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, 70 to 75. But it’s shown that your ability to react and stop a crash, just at that 5 mph increase, can be pretty serious and people don’t really realize how fast and how far your car is moving at those speeds. Even at 55 mph, your car is moving a football field in 3 to 5 seconds. That’s what studies show. That’s how long it takes to send a three-word text message. So for anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds, your eyes are away from the road . . . you’ve moved a football field. And that’s plenty of time to cause a serious crash.”
To see Brandon’s full interview with WZZM on the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, check out the video below.
Attorney Brandon Hewitt’s safety tips for teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer
In addition to watching their speed, wearing seat belts and putting down their phones, Brandon offered the following tips for keeping teen drivers safe this summer:
- Do not let your teenager drive when he or she is tired.
- Do not let your teenager drive when he or she is emotional.
- Require that your teenager engage only in “purposeful driving.” Brandon advised parents that they should “[r]equire that [their teen drivers] are going somewhere when they get behind the wheel. Not ‘Hey Mom, I’m going to take the car out for a while.’ And make sure they check in with you when they leave a destination and when they arrive at that destination so you know exactly where they are and you can have an estimate of how long it’s supposed to take them to get there so if they don’t check in with you . . . 15 minutes later . . . you maybe have a cause for concern.”
Teen driver crash statistics to remember during the 100 Deadliest Days of summer
Brandon told WZZM about the following statistics from the National Safety Foundation:
- 280 teens killed in car crashes per month during summer (26% higher than other months of the year)
- 60% of teen crashes caused by distracted driving
Additionally, AAA has reported:
- “[N]early two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel.”
- “An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.”
- “The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year.”