The AAA said for every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16-17) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults. Because school is out for the summer, teen drivers will have more time to spend on the road.
“This summer could prove to be even more dangerous for teen drivers as the 100 Deadliest Days coincides with what is expected to be a busier summer driving season than last year,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA expects two years’ worth of pent-up travel demand to be unleashed in the coming months. That means more traffic on our roadways, which raises the crash risk – particularly for young, inexperienced drivers.”
AAA shares data on the “100 deadliest days” from 2011 to 2020
- Each year an average of 2,063 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes; 642 of those (31%) occurred during the 100 deadliest days
- More than 7,124 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020.
- That’s more than seven people a day each summer compared to the rest of the year (six people/day).
- An average of 22 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
- Every year, an average total of 69 people are killed in teen driver-related crashes. More than a third of those fatalities (35% or 24 deaths) occur during the 100 deadliest days.
- During the past 10 summers, 687 people have died in teen driver-related crashes.
AAA brings attention to risky behaviors
The AAA described some risky behaviors and the dangers they pose. It said knowing the facts can help prepare guardians and their teens.
- Driving with teen passengers. Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when they have teen passengers. Set limits and enforce them.
- Driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous due to limited visibility, fatigue, and impaired drivers on the road. This is especially a risky time for teens. Limit the time your novice driver spends behind the wheel at night.
- Not wearing a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt greatly reduces the risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. Make a rule: everyone buckles up for every trip.
- Speeding. Speed is a leading factor in crashes for teens and adults. Teens need to follow posted speed limits and parents should set a good example and strong rules. Teens should also learn how to adjust their speed based on roadway factors like reduced traction and visibility and varying traffic volumes.
- Distracted driving. Teen passengers are the biggest distraction to teen drivers, but cell phones come in second. Many teens admit to interacting with their phone and in-car infotainment systems while behind the wheel despite clear dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.
- Drowsy driving. Teens have a hard time getting enough sleep and often struggle with drowsiness. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and teens have the highest risk. Ensure everyone who is behind the wheel has gotten enough sleep.
- Impaired driving. Driving impaired from alcohol and other drugs puts everyone at risk. Enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen and be a good role model.
Advice for parents and guardians
- Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
- Teach by example- Maintain appropriate space around your vehicle, adjust your speed to the conditions and minimize risky behavior when you drive.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
- Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
- Enroll your teen in both online and in-person driving courses.
- Talk with your teens about anticipating other driver’s mistakes and how to adjust their driving to others.
The AAA also offers an online supplemental program for teen drivers.