WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Teens drivers love hitting the road instead of the books during their summer vacation. But it’s important for young drivers to remember: too much summer relaxation could become a fatal distraction when they’re behind the wheel.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers, a time when the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year.
“Teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and spend more time on the road,” said Mike Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California. “Parents are the front line of defense for keeping our roads safer this summer, and it all starts with educating teens about safety on the road and demonstrating good behavior.”
Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days.
A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers ages 16-17 years old are:
- 3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash
- 2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash
- 4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash
- 3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash
The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased more than 10 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 crash data, the latest data available. To reverse this trend, AAA urges parents to get involved and talk to their teens about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.
Three factors that commonly result in deadly crashes for teen drivers are:
Distraction: Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes, four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. The top distractions for teens include talking to other passengers in the vehicle and interacting with a smart phone.
Not Buckling Up: In 2015, the latest data available, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a safety belt. Teens who buckle up significantly reduce their risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash.
Speeding: Speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. A recent AAA survey of driving instructors found that speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. 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.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 117 years ago. Visit AAA.com for more information.