Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer and unfortunately a dangerous time of year for young drivers. Nationwide, more than 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occurs during what’s called the “100 Deadliest Days” - a period that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“Now that the CDC has lifted many pandemic restrictions, young adults are eager to reconnect with friends, which means young inexperienced drivers will spend more time on the roads,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “This increases the chances that they’re involved in a crash, and for every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16-17 years old) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.”
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 16-19. In fact, six teens are killed each day in crashes that are entirely preventable. Per miles driven, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be killed in a crash. Even the best and brightest teens have increased risk of being involved in a deadly crash.
“Teens lack the experience, skills and maturity of a seasoned driver, which contribute to an increase in the chance that there will be a deadly outcome, not just for the teen driver, but also for any passenger as well as others on the road,” Jenkins continued. “So we all have a vested interest in ensuring that teens are safe behind the wheel.”
Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead.
Driving with 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 limit and parents should set a good example and strong rules.
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.
AAA offers a comprehensive online education course for new drivers. AAA’s How to Drive Online is a 25 hour supplemental course. This course delivers the rules and essential elements of safe driving in an interactive and innovative way. This online program aims to ensure that safe driving habits are developed and maintained for life. Click here to learn more.
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To learn more, contact DriverTraining2@acg.aaa.com or call (888) 222-7108.
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