AAA Reveals Key Deadly Behaviors for Teen Drivers as “100 Deadliest Days” Begin
Crash data shows Speeding, Drinking and Driving and Distraction are top contributors
HARTFORD (May 30, 2019) – Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days - the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when crash fatalities involving teen drivers historically rise.
Crash data from 2013-2017, analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reveals major contributing factors include:
- Speeding (28 percent)
- Drinking and driving (17 percent)
- Distraction (9 percent)*
“It is critical that parents talk to their teen drivers and continue to educate them about safety behind the wheel and these reckless behaviors that endanger everyone – not just the teen,” says Jennifer Shorette, Director of AAA Driving School in Greater Hartford. “The assumption is that this is a ‘teen’ issue but, more often than not, the victims of teen driver-related fatalities are someone other than the teen”.
AAA Foundation 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 for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more. Over the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days”:
- An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.
- The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year.
Reckless behavior like drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the alarming number of crash deaths involving teen drivers each summer.
Speeding significantly increases the severity of a crash and is a growing problem among teen drivers. In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, half (49.7 percent) of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent say they sped on the freeway.
Drinking and Driving
Despite the fact that teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.
*Distraction- Underreported Problem
More than half of teen drivers (52 percent) in the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index report reading a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent report sending a text or email. It is difficult for law enforcement to detect distraction following a crash, which has made distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
Additional AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58 percent of teen crashes, approximately four times as many as federal estimates.
“Storing your phone out of reach, minding the speed limit, and staying away from impairing substances like alcohol and marijuana will significantly minimize risk year round but it is important to underscore this safety messaging as we head into the ‘deadliest’ days”, Shorette adds.
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.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
- “Take the Pledge” along with your teen not to drive “intexticated” (link to AAA’s online pledge not to drive distracted)
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. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.
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.
Follow us on Twitter: @AAACTNews