The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to by traffic safety experts as “the 100 deadliest days,” since the summer months usually bring a dangerous spike in teen traffic fatalities. During summer months, an average of seven people are killed every day in teen driver-related crashes – an increase of nearly 20 percent over year-round figures. Each year an average of 2,100 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes, with 30 percent occurring during the 100 deadliest days.
In response, thousands of young people active in SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) are partnering with The National Road Safety Foundation to instead make it “The Safest Summer Ever.” The two groups are mounting a massive social media campaign to call attention to a range of safe driving issues from distracted and drowsy driving, along with an effort to empower passengers to speak up when in a vehicle that’s being driven dangerously. The campaign will have different safe driving messages posted on social media every week, with those posts amplified by shares and re-posts by SADD chapters and members nationwide.
“By mobilizing the tens of thousands of student safety advocates in the SADD community at the middle school, high school and college level, we hope to make this the safest summer ever, not only for teens on the road, but for all drivers and passengers,” said SADD President and CEO Rick Birt. “Young people will help spread important safe driving messages to their peers, friends and family at a time when teens are most at risk on the road.”
“The messages being shared by our friends in SADD can help save lives,” said Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations at The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit that promotes safe driving behavior and a longtime SADD supporter and program partner. “Our hope is that these messaging efforts will have an impact that brings a decline in teen crashes to make this the safest summer ever.”
Messages will include material from the Passport to Safe Driving, created by the National Road Safety Foundation and SADD students to engage teens and adults on the driving skills they need to be safe. Safest Summer Ever posts can be seen throughout the summer at #SADD and #NRSForg. Messaging will also encourage passengers to speak up when in a vehicle that is being driven unsafely, since passengers of all ages account for about 62 percent of traffic fatalities nationwide.
This year’s campaign comes on the heels of new record-breaking crash statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association. A new GHSA report shows traffic fatalities last year hit a 16-year high of 42,915, an increase of 10.5 percent from 2020, while pedestrian fatalities have skyrocketed to a 40-year high of 7,485, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year.