The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer have already begun. Stretching from Memorial Day to Labor Day, these summertime months filled with outdoor fun and vacationing are also the days of the year when teens are most likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
"More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2016 during the 100 Deadliest Days," according to AAA. "That is an average of 10 people per day."
The causes of fatal car crashes involving teens vary. In addition to alcohol consumption, substance abuse and electronic or cellphone use can also contribute to impaired driving.
The Arrive Alive Tour
Each year, the Arrive Alive Tour, a safe driving simulation program that provides education on the dangers of impaired driving, works with schools and other organizations across the country to highlight the risks associated with impaired driving. In 2018, they were named on TeenSafe's list of 14 of the Best Organizations Fighting Distracted Driving.
The danger is real, as evidenced by the staggering statistics Arrive Alive shares. For instance, while 94 percent of teens acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous, over a third of them text anyway. This mentality may be contributing to the nation's rising number of teen traffic accidents, with 11 teens dying daily from texting while driving and a quarter of accidents being caused by texting and driving.
Studies have shown that a driver is 23 times more likely to crash while texting, reports arrivealivetour.com. This statistic is six times higher than the risk of crashing while intoxicated.
Part of the problem is that teens underestimate how long it takes to send a text, and how long their eyes are away from the road.
"Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent at 55 mpg of driving the length of an entire football field, blind," explains Arrive Alive Tour.
Impairment simulations help educate teens
To educate participants on the dangers of impaired driving, Arrive Alive Tour travels the country offering teens and adults the opportunity to find out what driving impaired is like, and what the possible ramifications might be.
Each Arrive Alive Tour program includes a high-tech simulator set up in an actual, immobilized vehicle. To begin the simulation, a participant dons a virtual reality headset and is presented with a driving scenario. Sensors on the gas pedals, brake pedals and steering wheel track the driver's movements as he or she attempts to navigate the simulated challenge. This allows participants to experience drugged, alcohol-impaired or distracted driving without suffering the real-life consequences.
Once they've finished the simulation, participants receive a mock citation from the facilitator and learn how being impaired impacted their driving skills.
Past participants write rave reviews
Participants in the Arrive Alive simulation program don't soon forget their experiences. One of the aspects most often commented on in testimonials is the friendliness, professionalism and informed nature of the facilitating staff.
Nicholas Ownbey, a peer health educator with the University of North Georgia remarked, "They (the facilitators) were able to interact with students so well. They were able to draw students in to not only come to the simulator but to our table as well."
Another testimonial mentioned the facilitators, saying, "I just wanted to take a moment and sing your team's praises! . . . .They clearly understand the bigger purpose behind the efforts and it shows."
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