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Help keep teens safe on the road

During the past 10 years, nearly 8,300 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.

That’s more than seven people who die each day during the summer.

Crash data shows that for every mile driven, drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly accident than adults are. 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.

Accidents involving teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because young people are out of school and driving more. Experts warn this year could prove to be even more dangerous, thanks to a combination of canceled activities, fewer summer jobs and the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

According to the foundation, 47 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 admitted to having driven more than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit on a residential street and 40 percent admitted to driving 15 miles per hour higher than than the speed limit on a freeway.

The AAA numbers showed 35 percent admitted to texting while driving, 32 percent admitted to running a red light, 31 percent said they had engaged in aggressive driving, 25 percent said they had engaged in drowsy driving and 17 percent said they had driven without a seatbelt.

Sadly, the statistics show that one in six teen drivers involved in a fatal crash during the summer months will test positive for alcohol.

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 while they are 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 their cell phones.

Driving is a privilege, and parents must become in-car coaches for their children at all times of the year, but especially during the dangerous summer driving season.

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