As the school year ends, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for some of the most dangerous driving days of the year. Nationwide, more than 7,000 people died in teen driving-related summertime crashes between 2011 and 2020. That’s more than 7 people per day during the 100 Deadliest Days - the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – compared to the rest of the year.
“Now that students are out of school, teens will spend more time on the road, often driving with friends at odd hours of the day and night. Because of their inexperience, teen drivers often engage in unsafe behaviors like speeding and distracted driving,” says Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “AAA urges parents to model safe driving practices and reinforce safe driving habits to keep their teen drivers as safe as possible this summer.”
According to previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, new teen drivers ages 16-17 are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. Speed and nighttime driving are significant factors contributing towards the number of crashes and fatalities involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 36 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- Data show a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days compared to the rest of the year
- 30 percent of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed-related
In preparation for the dangerous summer driving period, AAA encourages parents to educate their teens and themselves about risky driving behavior. Parents should:
- Discuss with teens early and often the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding and nighttime driving.
- Discuss with teens the dangers and consequences of distracted driving (i.e., texting, having multiple people in the car, etc.)
- Stress the importance of buckling up. According to NHTSA, more than 50 percent of teen drivers who died in 2020 were not wearing seat belts.
- Teach by example and minimize any risky behavior when behind the wheel.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Consider setting driving limits that are stronger than state laws and enforce those limits.
Summer is also a great time for teens to complete a comprehensive driver education course to learn the rules of the road. Visit AAA Exchange - Teen Driver Safety.
Strengthening teen driving laws to increase roadway safety is a top priority for AAA. The Association’s advocacy efforts are helping to protect teens by working to pass graduated driver licensing laws, including seat belt requirements, wireless device bans and nighttime driving and passenger restrictions, in states across the country.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 69 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.