As school lets out for summer, AAA is stressing the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for some of the most dangerous driving days of the year.
Officials note that more than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2016 during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That is an average of 10 people per day – a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year, according to data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“Given their inexperience behind the wheel and with more drivers on the road, the summer months are the riskiest for teen drivers,” says Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs. “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.”
Speed and nighttime driving are significant factors contributing towards the number of crashes, and subsequently fatalities, involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days (statistics based on 2016 NHTSA FARS data as analyzed by the AAA Foundation):
Nighttime Driving & Speeding
- 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 crashesper 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
“Given the danger that speeding and nighttime driving present to teen drivers, we recommend parents be actively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process,” continues Podguski.
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 your own 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 a state’s law, and enforce those limits.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools, including licensing and state law information, to help prepare parents and teens for not only the dangerous summer driving season but also all year long. The site also features new interactive widgets highlighting teen driving risks, as well as a social host quiz. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.
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.