Summertime means parties, vacations and fun but it can also be a very dangerous time for teenagers. The American Automobile Association calls the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day “The 100 Deadliest Days,” for teen drivers. In fact, seven of the 10 deadliest days of the year for teens fall between those holidays.

Before teens get behind the wheel, it’s important to talk to them about the rules of the road and driving safely. You may also want to consider a limit on how many friends they’re allowed to drive around with. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the risk of fatal car crashes skyrockets when teens drive with passengers under the age of 21. Compared to driving alone, the risk of a fatal crash increases by 44% when a teen driver has one young passenger. The risk doubles with two passengers and quadruples with three or more.

The best thing you can do to protect your teens is just to talk to them. Studies have shown that talking to your teens about driving lowers their risk of having a crash. Experts say the conversations should happen often and should start when the child is 13.

Drinking and driving should be a big concern, but driver error, speeding and distractions are also serious problems.

  • 5,474 people were killed in distracted driver crashes in 2009
  • Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in those wrecks
  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field, blind, at 55 mph

Cell phones aren’t the only issue. Eating, drinking, talking and changing the radio are all considered potentially dangerous driving distractions.

If your teen is involved in a crash, having adequate insurance will help protect their health and your finances. Adding a teen driver to your policy will result in additional costs, no matter which company you choose, so be sure to shop around for the best rates.If your child is an honor roll student, passed a driver’s education course or has a job, some companies may offer a reduced premium. But if your son or daughter has an accident, be ready to pay even more. Just one wreck can cost you an extra $200 a month in premiums. A speeding ticket could have a similar impact.

If you have any questions about insurance, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Team toll-free at (800) 522-0071 or online at