As school lets out for summer, 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.
“The summer months are the riskiest for inexperienced teen drivers because they typically have more unstructured time behind the wheel and there are more drivers on the road,” says Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Although the facts are tragic, they present an opportunity to focus on and discuss what can be done to improve the safety of teenagers on the road.”
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):
• 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
• 29 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.)
• 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 72 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.