A few years ago, AAA reported that teen drivers are more likely to get into car accidents during the 100 days of summer than they are at other times of the year. More recently, AAA found that teen drivers put everyone at risk – no matter the season.
In the study published in 2011, AAA reported that car crash data shows that seven of the top 10 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The organization stated that when teens are not in school, they spend more time in cars, often driving aimlessly. As a result, they get into more accidents during the summer than during other times of the year.
On average, 422 teens die in traffic crashes during each summer month. The monthly average is 363 teen traffic deaths during non-summer months, AAA stated. Additionally, between 2005 and 2009, more than 7,300 teen drivers and passengers ages 13 to 19 died in traffic crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.
Just ahead of Memorial Day 2015, AAA published a new report, “Teen Drivers Put Everyone at Risk.” The “100 Deadliest Days” of summer bode ill for us all, apparently.
“Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group, and this data confirms that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel,” Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, states in a news release. “Since teens drive more during the summer than any other season, this insight is a timely reminder to everyone – drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists – to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers.”
In the report, “Teen Driver Crashes: 1994-2013,” AAA finds:
- The majority of people killed (66 percent) and injured (67 percent) in crashes involving teen drivers are people other than the teen.
- Nearly 50 percent of those injured are in another vehicle, while 17 percent are in the teen driver’s car. Only 2 percent are non-motorists.
- About 30 percent of those killed were in another car, while 27 percent were the teen’s passenger and 10 percent were non-motorists.
In the most recent report, AAA states that an overall decline in teen car accidents can be attributed to graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs such as those in Florida (the first in the nation) and the high cost of gas in recent years.
Tips for Safer Teenage Driving
Parents need to play a stronger role in ensuring that their children are not a threat while behind the wheel, according to AAA.
Suggestions for parents from AAA as well as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) include:
- Restrict purposeless driving – For at least the first year of driving, limit your teen’s driving to essential trips and only trips with parental permission.
- Limit the number of passengers – Set firm rules about your teen having other teens as passengers when they are driving. A 2012 AAA study of teens and passengers found that the risk of death for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44 percent when they have one passenger younger than 21. It doubles with two passengers and quadruples with three or more.
- Model safe driving – Teens pick up on what they observe. Be a good role model and follow the rules of the road. Never engage in unsafe practices, including distracted driving, texting while driving, excessive speeding and illegal passing.
- Practice – Even after your teen is licensed for solo driving, continue to ride with your teen to help them manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions. Riding as your teen drives – without criticizing – also shows and builds trust and respect.
- Contract with your teen – Set up a written agreement with your teen and establish clear rules about passengers, access to the car, geographic boundaries, curfews and other items. Several forms can be found online, including those from AAA, National Safety Council, American Academy of Pediatrics and FLHSMV.
You may also remind your teen driver that they will be held accountable for any harm they cause in an accident.
If you have been injured by a teen driver in the Orlando or Winter Park areas of Florida, contact our offices for a free consultation.