The end of the school year is usually filled with joy for teenagers, marked by proms, graduations and the beginning of summer vacation.
But May also begins one of the riskiest times of the year for youths.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day the "deadliest 100 days" for teen drivers.
Reporting on this dangerous season, USA Today noted seven of the 10 deadliest days of the year for teens fall between those holidays, while July and August are the deadliest months for 16- and 17-year-old drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 422 teens die in crashes in each of the summer months compared to an average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.
Considering these sobering statistics, it's fitting May has been declared Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. It kicked off earlier this month with a rally inWashington, D.C.
To coincide with the rally, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study noting some of the particular dangers facing young drivers -- namely distractions caused by other teens in the vehicle.
It found a 16- or 17-year-old driver's risk of death per mile driven increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21 (and no older passengers). The risk is double when carrying two passengers younger than 21, and quadruples when carrying three or more passengers that age.
Another big risk is technology: 75 percent of teens acknowledge texting while driving is very dangerous -- but 43 percent admit to doing so.
Pennsylvania's new teen driving law addresses those issues by limiting the number of minor passengers a junior driver can carry and banning their use of cellphones altogether.
But, as we all know, teens are notorious risk-takers -- more so when they're around their peers.
It's a parent's job to ensure his or her teen is ready to hit the road, that they have enough experience to drive safely and understand the possible deadly consequences of a lapse in judgment.
Safety experts recommend parents enter into a written contract with their teen drivers, laying out the rules and the repercussions for not following through. (Insurance companies and AAA offer sample contracts.)
"The act of creating the contract will prompt a dialogue," Henry Edinger, chief customer officer at the Travelers insurance company, said in the USA Today report.
And a parent's responsibility doesn't end there.
"There's nothing magical that happens to the teen once they get their license and can drive independently in a vehicle," Dennis Durbin, a Philadelphia specialist in the prevention of teen driver crashes, told the newspaper.
Noting teens are at their "highest lifetime risk" during that initial period of driving alone, he said the safety "conversation" should be ongoing.
As we enter into these "100 deadliest days," now is the perfect time to start it with your teen.