Nationwide, 7,038 people died in crashes involving teen drivers from 2010 to 2019 during the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s more than seven people a day each summer. The combination of school vacation, and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, could prove deadly as teens take to the road this summer. AAA recommends that now is a good time for parents to both model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too.
“There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Northeast. “So what can be done? We can encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits. It’s never too soon to educate teens on the dangers of the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana. But actions speak louder than words. Remember to model good behavior because your teen won’t take your advice seriously if you don’t follow it yourself.”
As teens take to the road this summer, especially with pandemic restrictions easing, AAA recommends that now is an excellent time to remind parents to model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too. To support parents in communicating with their teens on driving safety, AAA Northeast is launching a summer-long social media campaign on the AAA Northeast Facebook page and online at AAA.com/DeadliestDays. The campaign will run from May 31 through September 6th. Traffic safety experts, advocates, and driving school instructors will share resources and research to help parents become effective in-car coaches and manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.
Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:
- Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
- Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
- Texting (35%)
- Red-light running (32%)
- Aggressive driving (31%)
- Drowsy driving (25%)
- Driving without a seatbelt (17%)
To keep roads safer this summer, 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.
- Teach by example, and minimize risky behavior when driving.
- 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 prior to the road test but continue to practice driving skills after licensure.