Keeping our teen drivers safe on the road

During the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

New crash data from 2013-17 reveals major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving.

Speeding tops the list.

Foundation research found that nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel. Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more.

During the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days” an average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers. The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year, according to AAA.

Nearly half of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent say they sped on the freeway, according to a AAA study.

One in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.

About 52 percent of teen drivers in the foundation’s latest traffic culture safety index report reading a text message or e-mail while driving in the past 30 days, and nearly 40 percent report sending a text or e-mail.

Parents play a vital role in keeping their teens safe on the road.

AAA encourages parents to talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving. Parents can teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving. That includes the parents putting down the cell phone. Parents also can make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

Driving is a privilege, and parents must become in-car coaches for their children during the dangerous summer driving season.


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