The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that over the past five years, 3,500 people have been killed in car accidents involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day – the period that is called the “100 Deadliest Days.” This is the time of year when the number of crash fatalities involving teen drivers historically rises. New crash data from 2013 to 2017 reveals that some of the major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include speeding (28 percent), drinking and driving (17 percent) and distraction (9 percent).
What Makes Summertime Deadly?
The AAA Foundation’s 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 involving teenagers increase significantly during the summer time because teens are out of school and driving more.
Over the past five years during this period, the average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15 to 18 was 17 percent higher compared to other days of the year. Safety advocates say it is important to continue educating teenagers about safety behind the wheel so they don’t put themselves and others in harm’s way. Reckless behaviors such as drinking and driving, speeding and distracted driving are contributing to these alarming numbers every summer, experts say.
For example, despite the fact that consuming alcohol is illegal for teens, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol. Also, AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58 percent of teen crashes, about four times as many as federal estimates.
Keeping Teen Drivers Safe
Our car accident lawyers are aware of the dangers teens and other drivers face during the summer months when traffic accidents in general tend to trend upward. There are several steps that parents can take to keep their teens safe behind the wheel, particularly during these risky summer months:
- Talk to your teen early and often about staying away from reckless behavior including speeding, drinking and distracted driving.
- Model good behavior including not talking on the phone or texting while driving.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
- Teens getting ready to drive should enroll in a driver education program, which teaches safety skills and how to avoid distracted driving.